Dream of Adolescence

by Leanne Chabalko


Out in the field I see an elk
I see waving bleached stalks trying to hold the sun
I see ragged paper bags, condoms, chewed gum

I awake in the field and see an elk running
Long heavy muscles, rousing heat
Split-heart hoof prints buried in mud

In the field I find sick bottles and arrowheads
I see an elk rub antlers across a chokecherry tree
Thunderheads mar my face with shadows

As winter twists her fingers around my breasts
And in the new hair between my legs
I find nests of straw held together by blood

I hear the elk bellow for sex, his harems gyrating
Distended black mountains crowd the distance
And crippled aspens hide their urgent rutting

Out in the field I see an elk nurse her young
Calming them with cold air and milk
I turn away to strip corn from careful husks

At midnight I see the herd of elk fleeing
I aim and murder every goddamned elk I find
I flay young bucks, punish cows, breed maggots

I chew meat for ages, erect piles of bones
I find a 1988 Buick LeSabre out in the field
Gnawed by rust, captive to blank-eyed rodents

I burrow inside its wounded frame
It is time to rest, study how the moon
Crawls across the mountains

Taste salt in the encroaching dawn
Hatch a plan to assure survival
Out in the field, alone, at night

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