The black animal

Ten a.m., three quarters through February, I’m driving along 7th Line to town, tall trees and deep snow on either side, a house or two glimpsed through branches: suddenly, ahead, as the road slopes up, from the trees on the right bounds a black animal, leaping across the road from one side of the woods to the other.

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Small offerings

The night’s small offerings to the road
are easy to lift: wrapped in a leaf
or carried on a bier of two stout twigs
an empty drink cup in the ditch will do
if a scoop is needed

Their still, often neat bodies
of feathers and beaks
of claws and fur
tiny red stick legs and translucent wings
or simple uncoiled lengths
finally agree
to settle
deep into the long grass
and wait for the seasons.

But some
if I come too late
cannot be pried from the asphalt
black as a clean slate
they are too small
the load that felled them
too exact:
these, after a few soft words, I leave
their diminishing flesh and precise skeletons
recording history

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