circle the same mile of Indiana where I force myself to look
at every dead deer on the road, as if that braces me, as if I believe
it will protect me from losing anything good.
I can’t stop dreaming I’m hiding
my own prints in the snow, convinced
my mouth is a metal trap, a part of it, apart
from you, & when you pull me awake
it’s because I’m lining my body with burrs,
because I’m antlers & talons & I know
the smell of cedar is home, is a ring of sky
I love, but I can’t take it when
you say Only deer, only hawks.
Why is there nothing wild in you
to explain it, nothing killing; why
am I the chased thing horrified
to overtake myself in the brush I wonder &
if a deer darts across this road & the dead don’t
take it, don’t the dead wait, don’t I know,
don’t the dead always covet something running?
I count bodies like cold days in March.
Ten, eleven, twelve—& you
with the map unfolded, following the sky.
I wonder if you & I are twin limbs
of something running.
If you & I circle.
Copyright © 2018 by Emily Skaja. Used with the permission of the author.