Every Sentient Being – after Frannie Lindsay

Every Sentient Being
after Frannie Lindsay

The carcasses have been piling up
All fall—atrophied chipmunk splayed under our kitchen island,

Mouse belly left in its usual corner of the dining room like a miniature
Human stomach, house-wren

Dragged in dead and half feathered, a pile of delicate bones that fit in the cup
Of your hand.

A spine, each vertebrae aligned as in life,
Sits in a puddle spewed by the dog at four a.m. onto the rug

And not the towel that you, nearsighted and naked,
placed under our retching

Animal. Not eating meat, you say, is a discipline. It’s a short hop, you say,
From flesh to gin. From sobriety to the salty-sweet of just a couple

Margaritas. But lately you’ve been thinking
About hunting. What makes a man a man? This morning,

The mouse that skittered around our midnight bedroom
Lay nestled in the stiff folds of your work pants—dirt-crusted

From a week of crawling around attics. You slid them on
And still the mouse clung, its microscopic claws

Embedded in canvas. It did not resist when you lifted each paw, placed it gently
On the woodpile. It did not run away. We said, oh, oh—

We wondered whether it would live.

Erica Bodwell is a poet and attorney from Concord, New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Coal Hill Review, PANK, HeART, Barnstorm, Hot Metal Bridge, The Tishman Review, Stone Highway Review, Cobalt and other fine journals. Her chapbook, Up Liberty Street, is a finalist for the 2015 Coal Hill Review Chapbook Contest, the 2015 Blast Furnace Chapbook Contest and the 2015 Minerva Rising Chapbook Contest.