First published in SORTES, 2020
There are traces of gunpowder on your teeth.
I want to believe that you joyfully exploded
inside my sinew, but really, it was the kickback
that threw you into the thicket of my arms.
The buckshot is still there, just under the flesh,
protruding like a stone, a forceful possibly-maybe—
artless ricocheting of bead, stone, munition.
When the wrappings of my sheared flesh
catch in the sharp places, I weave them
into your simulacrum.
I am meat twisting in the wind after hunting season.
I gathered pebbles for shooting in treetops and streams,
rifle ammunition for shooting the color of fire through air,
a target with buckshot caught fast,
invisible after the hard planting, even though
nothing grows except dirt mounds.
My mouth is filled with stones,
blessings for a finite life, a small nick in wild wood.
All the while, your plastic alter ego casts pebbles into the forest.
A bird falls.
Jaw, beak, bone—set into the earth for tree-tending.