Stone path, oat grass, stray cat, snare,
feather drift in feather air.
Laurel, anthill, train horn blare,
pecan shell shards on the stair.
One cat gnaws,
one wing tears.
Less song for the power line to bear.
Coo-OO-oo she sang, my dear.
I was looking for an animal, calf or lamb,
in the wire, metal and hair along the fence line.
Wire, metal and hair and there, in the gully, a man
I was pretending was dead. I pretended
to leave him where the woods met the meadow,
walking fast because I’d left my horse lashed
to a fence I lost track of two valleys
ago. Like a horse, I shied from the dead.
Here, calf. Here, lamb. I listened, wanting
(without my horse, my calf or lamb) to be
whipsmart rather than wanted. I wore orange
on antelope season’s first afternoon
and waited for the click that means the safety is
off. When I spoke, my story was about picking
skulls clean. I wanted everything to be
afraid of me, the horseless girl who wanted
to kill a dead man again. The white bed
with a window behind its headboard became
ice on the meadow road and a tree to stop
a truck dead. I meant to trace my boot steps
back to the fence where things went wrong,
find my horse mouthing the bit, tied up by her
reins. I looked for the horse because she looked
safe enough to love. I looked for the calf
or lamb because there was no calf or lamb.
The man left before I could leave him, and I pretended
the world was afraid of me because I was alone.