There is an earth below the body, white gleam in what is otherwise sage. You are unafraid, even curious at death now. Ravens pick through the catalogs. In their beaks, the red-brown stain. They hang, a glossy black in the greening house. Today, you walk right into the bone yard, recognizing first a shod hoof. The ribcage further on, the long neck spreading. What is strewn like feathers is hair caught in last year’s grass. You can almost make out an ear. A stillborn calf? A deer? But you, you say, have had enough now. You return to the farmer’s field of right and wrong. Widow’s weeds, or the heavy curtains that signal to the neighbors the house is closed: these are grief rules few of us practice any longer. Shall you say he was released? Did he step out of his mind, or was he flung? You have followed the path back to the river, where you cast river pebbles from shore, as if it were up to you to send him on. You watch them sink, which is, of course, thy will be done.
Melissa Kwasny is the author of five books of poetry, most recently Pictograph (2015) and The Nine Senses (2011), both from Milkweed Editions. Her collection of essays, Earth Recitals: Essays on Image and Vision, was published by Lynx House Press in 2013. She is also the editor of Toward the Open Field: Poets on the Art of Poetry 1800-1950 (Wesleyan 2004) and co-editor with M.L. Smoker of an anthology of poetry in defense of human rights, I Go to the Ruined Place (Lost Horse 2009).