371 Readings

What was in the trap

The pickup lumbered through the gravel into the yard,

a dome scraped bald by the riding mower, trees pressing

in around it, flamingo sky pushed up. He scrambled

out and around to the back, where, stuffed into a cage,

was a groundhog. I hadn’t seen one this close before.

They are mounds, sturdy and plain. The fur of one leg mauled

by the metal teeth, the muscle shone tight, exposed. The

groundhog had pinned its face to the corner. “Look what I

found,” Bob winked. Two deft shakes and it thunked hard to the earth.

The dogs, set loose from their dull chains, angled in, roaring.

This was the year we slept over, his sister and I

circling our eyes with liner, confessing how we touched

ourselves—the year she said, inky eyes blooming, “I wish

you were a Catholic. I don’t want you to go to hell.”

Posted 09/08/14
First published in Forklift, Ohio (Bin 24, Vinter 2012)
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