16 hot black bitumen off our calluses & use it to glue dry pine needles together into combs & swords & witch amulets knees scabbed in the dirt we fuss & bicker having already forgotten the slaughterhouse trip permission slips we were shipped home with then a brackish whiff something feral musks its way through the pine plantation to slink over the state highway brittle talismans crush in our hands did you see it that whiskered blackness that solid shadow sleek haunch and broad paw smaller than a cow larger than a labrador only a breathless haze where it went heat rippling off the highway in the distance a vacant mirage pooled between the yellow pasture & the ordinary sky the seeping reek from the sack of lamb tails slumped at the side of the road