Addendum and Other Poems


The December I was ready to die
I took myself home to my parents’ ranch.
I’d meant to say something about

couldn’t & wanted to & needed but
I couldn’t do that either & perhaps
neither could they. So instead,

that December, my parents & I,
in a pulse of blond hills, fastened
my mother’s iPhone to a fence post

in view of a heifer’s carcass. Johnny’d
shot her, after she’d prolapsed, out of
pity, then left the world of her

splayed above the clay & ice. We set
the camera’s mode to time-lapse & later,
in the kitchen, watched the comings,

goings: foxes, a bobcat, vultures—
& once, a bald eagle easing down
from the blue brutal. For a week,

a soft blur orbited the heifer.
For a week, it offered up
its slack bellies, warding off death

by consuming it. When the heifer left,
she left most of her behind. And so
it goes. About it, I knew then

as much as I do now, which isn’t
a lot, only that instead of going,
I stayed. On its string of starlight,

the moon rose, a stomach of stone.
In the yard, the coyotes yipped
till it sunk. Again, again.

A Shadow of an Oak

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