for the lovely bones by alice sebold

The animals are resting now
We can approach

Piled up like black rubbish in the shadows
Drifting in in clumps like lawbooks
From the towns upstream

Cast up on the beach
With an inevitability that crushes.

As children we held sticks
We watched the ungulents move in the field
We packed dog paws into cardboard boxes

Now the animals are resting
The language turns a lot leaner

In this season we lay traps
We organise ourselves
Into sleeping teams
And scout:

A long shed of milk
Pelts cool on the wide surface
Jaws are ruins
Fur humps
And sighs

Not a bubble of breath.
My hand ends
My bite slackens.

The hope dies of any accurate perception
… in the places of sense …