The First Night

by Alexa Curnutte

My father pulls    bullets from his pockets
like change, itches his     black powder beard. Stays  outside.
             I hunt red casings in the field’s soil
             leave them on the
             dinner table   to
             remind him   Tonight I    follow. 
Across the firebreak, our Church
pews stacked with tin dishes
crushed edges with the force    of canines
to hold the blood, the bread. A    hungry
wet impatience     pacing on
all fours.
             Blue fabric scratches my thighs,
             teeth turn    pink. A long tongue on
             the back of the neck,
             We live   the Beasts. Our hollow’s‐
Across   the   firebreak.  Our Home’s demons. My father’s chest, mine,
stuffed with   dry brown needles
Chickens pluck for pine in the yard
after    dark. Feel the    twinge. The hunt.
My thirsty mouth sucks from   faucet out back.
Feel the     muscle morph.
We watch    through
mulberry bushes. Lick   lips
              Tight stomach   father howls
              vibrating black skins in our   lung.
              Our fingers dig   good muscle
              peel back   brown feather. Eat.
Crickets moaning
We pad the humid swamp, black mud
              There’s   banshees, out here. Hide

              the hackles, the holy water beading silver
              on   my lips.

              Do we hover out here,
              father? Or go   inside?
              I can’t   taste the   wafer. The Psalm.
Strung the land
domain of sweat and
animal dirt.  Father places
              horsehide on my   shoulders. Covers our human
              bodies.   Our sin amongst the    Creatures.
              Knuckling along under   black pelt
                           Shake language from our tongue.
                           Yellowed eyes   pupils  dilate. My mouth
                           stiffens. Loses
We crawl horizontal between
Firelight and  shadow. Ghosts of
   the gospel. Growling.
             Sappy wooden coffin in
             Church    Meat, at Home.
Hollyhocks in our ribs from
the brush.  Pawing our blisters.
What was wanted.
Licking the coppery blood away.


Author Biography: Alexa Curnutte is a sophomore at Interlochen Arts
Academy. She plans to eventually go on and study International Relations
at university. Alexa is an animal lover and classic literature fanatic- she
hopes to one day read the entire Everyman’s Library.

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