Thursday, February 17, 2011

Evening and a Wren Flying Home to a Dead Tree

Red Shuttleworth, Winside, Nebraska, December 1987



Evening and a Wren Flying Home to a Dead Tree

Dressed in a faded black skirt
and a low-cut azure blouse, the smell
of wood smoke rising off her breasts,
she stands next to the kitchen sink,
and guts a cottontail.  Her husband
is looking for the priest at the rodeo
and her father is laid out upstairs
on his bed, as dead as the rat her son
put in the county sheriff's mailbox.
Her father is too dead to ever again
examine pictures in Playboy or think
a dip in a barrel of rusty rain water
is as good as a bath.  His colors of
thirst were salt, tequila, and lime.



This poem first appeared in West Branch 18 in 1986, edited by Karl Patten and Robert Taylor




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