Ars Poetica

Matthew Moniz

You bred those hounds. Now send them loose.

Your prey has a vivid pelt, though you know

it’s redder on the inside. You wear a red coat, too.

You’re wrapped in intent. You wait for a trail, then you’re off.


Red is not a scent. Though your quarry

flashes brightly through the undergrowth,

the dogs follow in dog ways. Pursue

them from a learned and measured distance.


The pack scatters and converges, hopping over logs,

rushing through brush, branching as light does

through leaves then hitting the forest floor again

and again. They’ve chased foxes before, but not this fox.


Before you began, the beast was trotting freely,

but the quick brown dogs have it dashing differently.

It cunningly runs through water – splashes don’t smell.

It doesn’t want to be caught, but you trained your dogs to listen.


In the end, it sits cornered and quivering. Ragged breaths

sway its brilliant fur. Call off your dogs.

Stride calmly towards your target. Reach down

with a confident hand. Kill it.

Matthew Moniz recently received his PhD in poetry at the University of Southern Mississippi. Originally from the DC area, he holds an MFA and MA from McNeese State University and a BA from Notre Dame. Among other national and international journals, Matt’s work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Crab Orchard Review, Meridian, Tupelo Quarterly, Fourteen Hills, and minnesota review. He has been awarded Poetry by the Sea’s Kim Bridgford Memorial Sonnet Crown Contest prize and the SCMLA Poetry Prize and grown in workshops with Tin House and the Community of Writers.