by Maxine Scates


After the dying was over
when everything had been put away
when it came time to have something to say
no longer snarling behind the fence
could be
could be again,
the dog leaping in the field
beneath the blue butte
with the storm coming in

She found the mossy skull
of a doe and brought it to me.
This is absence
or so I thought
in the intricate sutures which had held,
the cavern of the eye
going back into itself and away.

Beneath the blue butte
the fences were fallen
the barbed wire useless,
who was I
tired then
in the muddy field
with the brown stalks
giving way to spring, who was I
if I was not who I had thought?

-from Black Loam. First appeared in The Women's Review of Books