Timothy Dodd


crawls with groundhogs: both fat 
and skinny ones; some stand smiling,
others sit expressionless. Almost all
were never real. Some are dressed 
in Scottish kilts, with bagpipes to blow. 
Some wear top hats while others carry 
American flags or play banjos. Some 
grace town murals, others are souvenirs 
car-carried far away. See, here in Punxsy, 
we make national headlines once a year 
for Groundhog’s Day…cause of Phil 
…the critter who predicts winter’s end 
when emerging from his hole. Our lone
non-groundhog sculpture, wood carved, 
is a moccasin-wearing native standing 
in front of the police station. No surprise 
he’s got a peace pipe, spear, and quiver 
slung over his back as well. Nameless, 
of unidentified tribe, a sign to his left 
reads: “Punxsutawney – Name of Indian 
Origin—Founded 1818.” That’s law 
and order now, but I wonder if it’s better
just to sculpt another groundhog: Phil
and his family haven’t yet been railroaded 
or forgotten. And they’re not all that bad 
in the grand scheme of things really, just 
tubby, little creatures like me. Harmless. 
So I say to myself: be thankful we’re not 
the town of squid or sole. Or scat. Thank 
great God and country we’re not  the town
of Mick Jagger, proctology, or my ex-wife. 



While I’m exploring old cemeteries in Richmond,
            Dad’s back home in hospital, his aged body

fighting pancreatitis, intestinal blockage, infections,
            and a racing heart. Something’s wrong

with his liver too, and in the wet, drizzling Virginia
            gray I’m reminded by the whistle of a distant

train, its urgent sound a pig dying, or a regiment
            desperately calling for reinforcements.

When it’s done and silence floats back to tombstones,
            we keep a cast heavier than this history

of battles, ideas, ideals, of what men might be: all
            underground now, graves piddling on the soil,

our little lost markers of stories asleep and languishing,
            secrets parents forgot and untold. To believe

in what existed, or that we might rise: in the misty rain,
            far away on hillsides, in a shifting blur, a sound

comes and something tries to appear, show itself: to walk
            with the living, in the few days before we’re dead.

© Timothy Dodd

Timothy Dodd is from Mink Shoals, WV, and is the author of Fissures, and Other Stories (Bottom Dog Press). His poetry has appeared in The Literary Review, Crab Creek Review, Roanoke Review, and elsewhere. Also a visual artist, Tim’s most recent solo exhibition, Come Here, Nervousness, was held at Art Underground in Manila, Philippines. His oil paintings can be sampled on his Instagram page, @timothybdoddartwork, and his writing on his “Timothy Dodd, Writer” Facebook page.   

Back to Main Loch Raven Review Site