Where Animals Gather
by Dawn Schout

Her lawn is an animal
graveyard. The side of the road,
too. Every dead thing,
she finds—
frogs sliced by the mower,
mouse bones the cat left, a mole
carcass, a raccoon
that mysteriously died
under the creek bridge,
the skull of a possum
trapped between boards
of the rotting chicken coop,
a snapping turtle
that didn’t make it across
the road to the pond,
its shell cracked, leathery brown
skin flattened—
creatures she has forgotten
about or never saw alive,
just traces of them now,
reminding her of the frailty of life.
She shortens her puppy’s leash,
keeps her close
when cars pass, lets her
eat what remains.

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