The hunters drove through town doing eighty,
the bodies of wolves tied in cruciform
to the hoods of their trucks.

The Pink Lady Slippers in the woods
hung like carcasses on hooks and the lights of ranches
twinkled in the valley below. We could hear,
with a kind of clairaudience, the stars clicking their pistols.

I stood at the edge of the world, tongue screwed shut.
But words came from all four corners—
even speechless, that power was unstoppable.

A red fox, like a blood smear
in the wild lilac of my mother’s abandoned homestead,
and black-blotch shadows of hawks and ravens,
                                                               sweeping rorschachs—

The bird-like leaps of the heart’s wonder.

From Tongue Screw (Spark Wheel Press, 2016). Copyright © 2016 by Heather Derr-Smith. Used with permission of the author.