and what of the men
living ruinous and discarded
cadavering their gaunt bodies
through ochre mud like the rest of us,
mouths nothing more than toothless urns
for tea leaves and cigarette ash?
the others ran them out;
a limping horde, blood sleeting
their furs in great sheets—
in the night they cried like panthers
out of fear or hunger, eyes yellowing
in the shape of moons.
i nursed them when it rained;
leashed the chickens to a tree.
they were too poorly
to hunt. curious, it was,
how i tried so hard not to watch
but still caught sight of the feathers,
the breaking open.
In the ache and shift my fingers
knew their ruthlessness, even
it is hard to hate a creature
that loves so plainly:
lunging at every gentle touch,
afraid to lose the hurting.
and i will come again
in the morning, collect
the leashes and adjust the tarp.
i will know them as mine.
Lyrik Courtney is a native Floridian, born in 1999. Currently they work as a poetry editor for Venus Magazine, and their work is published/forthcoming in both Polyphony H.S and Liminality. You can find them tweeting at @lyrik_c.