by Laura Van Prooyen

On her last night, a shotgun blast.
She was not ready to pack up
and go, but pulled together
what she could:

a length of bamboo and hickory
leaves, then she swept up lady-
bug shells into the bedroom

corner. Out on the highway
she walked the tall grass and under
a light discovered white bones.

This creature had met a violent
end. The jaw far removed
from long-nosed skull, with legs
and ribs thrown farther. She does

not know why she picked up
the skull, pressed the teeth into
her arm where marks grew red

to show her the bite if this thing
had been living. And why, she can’t
say, she set off again and carried
the head along with her.