Another Roadkill Poem

Kelly Weber

    When we can’t drag anything else out of the silence of the plains, I like to play a game called counting birds. Robins are one point, crows two, vultures three. We read the gray landscape for scraps of jet wing, an early jay. Carcasses split open to strands of long red syntax by highway. In the year before I was diagnosed with Crohn’s and knew I was aro ace, when all my friends had moved away and I lived alone at the edge of the prairie, I thought I was starving for lack of love. I once climbed into a guy’s car just to share breath against my skin. February moon cold as angel cum. Loneliness was a set of hands I sharpened myself against. Once I lied to my doctor that someone was home to make sure I didn’t stop breathing after the anesthesia. All the bare trees skied into hungry rust bodies of hawks. When all my friends lived in a canyon, red rocks and knives beneath their pillows to ward off bad luck and strangers, craving thumbs against their throats. I never wanted to be a girl made helpless by anyone’s trust, but there was a year I spent chewing my lips and hands like a true carnivore. Ripping up the flesh on my fingers to reveal pink slits of muscle, crusted red craters. There was a year I spent thinking I was a girl worth leaving. Missing you and all our other friends so much tasted like failure. What’s the hole, the shape of a life where a partner should go? You sent me photographs of your hair tangled with yellow flowers, books about queerness disrupting time. My family never wanted to articulate what we hold against our wrists and mouths. The great-great-grandmother drinking rat poison when she couldn’t bear to be alone at anymore, her husband remarrying the next week. I guess I’m trying to say, in the wings of birds and the mason jar full of silty water and prairie aster on your dashboard, is I trust our commitment to mercy even when we can’t language it. When I make paper with my mother again, I pulp my old jeans, black-eyed Susans, your hair. Vulture with its head sunk into the side of each thing smashed on the road’s unsentenced tongue.

    by the splitting fence post

    a broken blue bottle

    opens its wings

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