During the rawest year, I live inside the ribcage of an elk, eat fish from a jar and drink stale snow I saved
from the winter before. I don’t make notches
in trees. I do not believe the moon follows me. In the fall, a boy
rides by on his best stick horse. He’s coming from a war and has white knight inclinations but I smell
of wood smoke and lye and don’t even own an ivory dress. I do not braid my hair or sing to misty-eyed animals at the window.
I don’t even have a window.
I drained the gentleness from myself as if bleeding a boar. Instead of saving each other, me and the boy get drunk
on sour dandelion wine and stories of our fathers. We marvel at sounds but rarely speak a common language.
When the fire lowers to nothing but embers, he whistles
& he and the night and the bodiless horse are gone. I count
the places he found on me, my body smoldering, my hunger renewed and thrashing.
In the morning, I try turning myself inside out
but he hasn’t left any grape seeds or sons behind. Listen:
you don’t need something to remember someone by. The sky can cut open her own underbelly and snow will follow.