The bad little brother of the Aurorean

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[one_half last=”no” class=”” id=””]Andrew Chenevert[/one_half]

[one_half last=”yes” class=”” id=””]SPRING 2016[/one_half]

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Road Kill Sonnets

I. Tortoise

The first instinct upon spotting a crushed tortoise
is to see it, separated from its shell, as a creature
undiscovered by man, broke by the car’s
first instinct to kill. The reptilian claws
made indistinct against the pavement,
close enough to the rabbit patch to suspect
the hare’s assassination
plot went hitchless.

Some people believe the world floats on the back
of a tortoise, and I hope not this tortoise,
cracked and strewn like pieces of a terracotta bowl.
Though who can argue not this tortoise seeing
the way weight can lay waste to things
methodical, things plodding. The World Tortoise
too must get tired,
and need to stop.

 

II. Racoon

So far off the road, and toward the forest,
or what’s left of it, his stealthy escape halted,
leaving just the body,
still masked, whole,
crumpled in the nest of roots by the sidewalk.
As if all that fled the body was the will to keep
moving onto the next house with the finesse
of a jewel thief, extracting nuggets from the trash.

Picture, in the next few days, the way summer’s sun
melts spilled ice cream. The fur puddles around
the once preserved body.
There must be clean-up
crews to remove this sort of thing, to beautify
the county’s cul-de-sacs. Though maybe sparing
the shovel, or back of the truck, will allow the body
to join the roots, becoming once more unmarred.

 

III. Bird

Flung home on a low note—windshield
cracking, a startled child behind the wheel—
the bird is pitched into the summer’s green.
The hollow
bones help make aloft
its final spiral.
Did muscles give way here, or eyes misjudge
the telephone wire? It’s natural to get cocky,
riding the seabreeze over everything human.

Is flight the human’s treading water,
just muscles pounding against the deep,
bubbling below? When the highway’s stuffing
bursts out
the seam, when
the sea expands
its territory, luck will favor flighty things.
Now, some lark in a tree cries out to the husked body,
and does not consider itself so lucky.

 

IV. Rockfish far from Ocean

Hannah, North Dakota, on a back road
Off of the last exit before Canada:
We saw the fish’s body, flaking in gray dirt.

Eventually, the wind must pull
Veins open from the sea to let life
Enter a cloud. He had been swimming, or
Not swimming, through the air’s currents.

Tornadoes brought the body to land
Here in the dust of this rest-stop town, where
Even ghosts find no respite in crumbling motels.

Fishermen cast their lures into the nearby sky,
Uncover only clouds, starlight,
Calloused birds grown fat and scaly, nothing
Knifed on the cutting board for dinner tonight.


Bio

[highlight color=”” rounded=”no” class=”” id=””]Andrew Chenevert[/highlight]received his BA in Creative Writing from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. His work has been published in Commonthought, Clarion, and Side B Magazine. He lives in Portland, OR, where he facilitates a weekly public poetry workshop.