By Tiare Devenot
Yesterday, in old barn
painted Falun red
I watched a elk lose his skin
by hand and knife. Limp and large it laid
on silver trailer, too small. The large hooves tangled
a foot from the gate, clumsy like a child.
It was only the second time I encountered this creature.
The first was in passing, by car—
a solitaire being in a field of yellow raps. Unnatural, but perfect,
aside the black, streaking freeway.
I remember a dark speck,
This time, I watched
a knife burrow under soft skin by the ankle, pulled
up to cut the coat like fabric. No blood left, as it lifted
as easily as a mask, as if made to come undone.
a body near twice the size,
hung naked from the rafters,
by ankles in iron cuffs and chains.
A body, frozen, carved
skin under skin white,
veins cobalt and Falun red.
Her great mask, laid empty on a nearby bank,
A dark hole in the emerald grass.
A collie chewed ruby bits of her from a distance.
I turned with my stomach as weathered hunters
spun a wheel to pull the now shackled
calf alongside his mother—
In life and
death, we suffer
for fields of yellow raps.
as skin left for the dogs.