Blacktop Battlefield by Consuelo Marshall
This morning, the narrow country road
is littered with dead squirrels, dappled
in early light. Their agouti backs no longer
camouflaged, forepaws and hind legs
flag skyward, gesture to a glowing orb.
See the unraveled possum on the cusp
of Jones Sausage Road, makes you wonder
was it last night’s full moon or Mercury lost
in retrograde that made them put clawed fingers
on the carpet of death, headlights washing last rights?
Later, driving back, dodging my friends, my gaze
upward to save myself, but instead see a fawn
in summer’s piercing heat, its hollow neck and flanks,
fleeing across a chopped earth to disappear into a clotting
of leaves. Where is its mother? Her milk the fawn’s
water. A week passes, hooves wave to me from the ditch,
ivory belly sanctified, girdled by grape vines and cane.
Four hooded vultures pluck out eyes, a coyote pierces
the hide, carries off muscles, tendons sealed in blood.
The motherless fawn becomes my loneliness, my owned
inability to fit into this world, but the baby deer, no sign
of its mother, breathing in air defiled by human scent and tastes
an overwhelming thirst rising in tender tissues of a nascent throat.
Consuelo Marshall received an MFA in Creative Writing in 2011 from California State University, Long Beach. She was poetry editor for ARTLIFE Magazine and her poems have appeared in Zambomba, 1998, Fresh Bread, 2000, Convergence, 2004, ArtLife, 24th Anniversary Issue, 2004, Poetry Zone Poets of Santa Barbara, 2005, Verdad Magazine, 2009, Spillway, 2010, RipRap, 2011, The Packinghouse Review, 2012 and Beyond the Lyric Moment: Poetry Inspired by Workshops with David St. John, 2014. In December 2016, Marshall will be the Wolff Cottage Writer-in-Residence in Fairhope, Alabama.