10.4 (Summer 2006)
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Joellen CraftListen


Out Running

Hot enough to taste
the air, something rotten, and the swell

of cut grass in my throat. By the log pile,
my urine soaked into the gravel. Dust covers

me, like the roadside
detritus, the severed claw absurdly clenched,
the tampon wrapped in plastic: dry,
waiting. There's yelling. It's two girls

bent over a porch rail.
They yell again. What?

          Don't stop, keep running.

One holds a rounded little
girl pot belly. One who turns

away will soon be lovely. Their kiddie pool
will take too long to fill, will,
abandoned, brim and trickle:

that all small bodies
could be filled and filled—
when empty, flipped
to cover bald dirt.


Raccoon Decapitated Near Drainage Ditch

The blue blood hammers in my ears, then bubbles
thick into the dust. Stars poked in the broken
shell horizon spray above my head

as it rolls to rest, facing East.
The red taillights blink away.

There's silence
for the first time, and no breath, just the twin suns
of an oncoming truck breaking

over the rounded hillock
of my body. There, by the ditch, its honest
browns light up, now bronze, now amber, gold.

At once the full clean glory rushes past...


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