The chipmunk, heavy
with uneven mangle
where a right shoulder
ought to be, scuttles
in spirals on the axis
of a still-attached limb.

Shiloh brought her here,
to my doorstep,
the necropolis of rodents
and other gifts.  Shiloh will wait
with the dying chipmunk, urging
her to move differently,
willing her back
to the life he took
so that his purchase
might be made again
with another pounce,
another hunt, but
he bit too deep,
deep enough to just corrupt
the skeleton—impossibly
made of toothpicks.
The chipmunk slugs
around, around—
a broken vulture
circling itself.

Shiloh, head atilt, darts a paw
at the still chipmunk, no longer
really a chipmunk.  I impose
his curiosity, and why not
when he paws the dead thing
the way he does?  Curiosity
is the generous imposition.

I bend down, scoop my gift.

Zetetic separator

—Reese received his MFA from Arizona State University, where he has continued to teach composition and poetry workshops. He is an Assistant Poetry Editor at Fifth Wednesday Journal and a reader for Hayden’s Ferry Review. His work appears or is forthcoming in Fifth Wednesday JournalMoon City Review, Bop Dead City, and elsewhere. He received the Turner Prize from the Academy of American Poets, the Mabelle A. Lyon Poetry Award, and a Chili Pepper from Rate My Professor.

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