Kieron Walquist

          Outside Jefferson City, Missouri


The buck carwrecked

now rests + rots

on an isle

of bird’s-foot trefoil

off Hwy 63. My brother + I

brake — our father’s truck

lade for pawn shops —

+ coast over. I pet its coat,

comb my finger full

with it, while my brother

gets his hacksaw

to harvest its antlers —

its small coatrack.

’Cause he’ll rattle the bones

when hunting. ’Cause

we can’t leave

any crime scene alone.

The buck is puffy,

prettied by greenbottle flies,

+ behind us, slaughter-

red streak-dry

across the asphalt

like ketchup down a t-shirt.

The smell of it churns.

My brother cuts bone

from skull, + I try

to hold the body

steady by its front hooves —

two black hearts. I tell

myself to Get through.

I look away when I see —

in the copper-cool

of its eye — me.


The prison sits + scares

on a floodplain, a former farm

of corn + soybean that borders

a muddy Missouri riverbank.

Since the flood of ’93,

it shrivels for no more:

whitewashed + wicker,

blood-orange rebar

worn out-

side its monolith.

My brother + I trespass

past the night’s violet.

We’re there to see

ghosts, the gas chamber,

the showers spray-

painted in kitschy

+ godawful graffiti:

Satan, swastikas, Cock

sucker, + Hannah is Hot!

We’re there to haunt

something other than us.

By cellphone-light,

my brother + I walk along

cells that snowglobe

with dust, likely asbestos —

he blues an abandoned

sleeping bag, + I

no longer want to be here.

You hear that? my brother

says. + holy shit —

I hear it too.


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