Trophies open and close their glass eyes. A little steam & then
the Wildebeest and the Water Buffalo step out of the wall—,
that wood-paneled pond. Hoary beards, white ghost shivers,
trampling the guest sheets, buckling the thin mattress.
It is not quite Thanksgiving. Just shy. She gazes toward the guns
on high racks, the fold-out couch retracts, and from this quiet
claptrap rises a gamey smell: wet flannel, old boots, dead pheasant.
Born down through an underworld of pleather and bedsprings,
she is falling face-first into dark, the lopsided beasts of the country
pouring from their dark loges, and as they sniff her they see
an opening, as if through a sheet of black ice
a sun is born. Small as a satsuma. And through it, this:
Thanksgiving. An electric flash. The smell of frying venison
and the knife’s path along its strop. The sound of a girl waking,
running to dress her body in a private party of fallen leaves.
In her clearing the bok and kudu sniff. What was it—?
This small, hard star. This pinprick of dove & honey light warming
their stiff bodies. That cannot be snuffed, nor spiral-bound,
nor comforted—not by any one preternatural tongue. This girl thing
that gives and needs, and mostly needs, and needs and needs and needs.