“Duende” by Joshua Dolezal

Joshua Dolezal


Shot with a 7mm—mistaken for a bear—
he nearly bled to death, slamming through potholes
in the hunter’s front seat as the bug splattered
windshield grew dark, his shattered femur
jiggling like mud. It was a slow fading out,
numbness thick in his ears, belly slack
with the absence of fear. They caught him in time,
pinning the bone back as he came around
to the ache of it all. The red wool coat still hangs
by the door, blasted apart at the hem, where it once
brushed his jeans. He fingers the threads sometimes
while unlacing his boots, the twinge in his thigh
barely pricking his mind, the thought a small stain
on a vast plain of snow.

from Rattle #30, Winter 2008
Tribute to Cowboy and Western Poetry


Joshua Dolezal: “Much of my poetry is memory-based, and this poem recalls the true story of my uncle’s nearly fatal injury while working at dusk in his alfalfa field during bear hunting season. I was so struck by the desperation of my family during this time and so awed by my uncle’s resiliency, particularly his fearlessness about death, that the event left an indelible impression on me. Lorca triggered the memory and helped me understand it a little better.” (web)

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