Bone Pit

For David

That time, we pocketed arrowheads,
surprised a herd of deer, which raised white flags.
Your fingers traced a path through my sweat,
neck to shoulder, shoulder to wrist. We were twenty.

We’re sixty. Our hands, though gloved, are ice.
Green lenses cover our eyes. We discuss ideas,
logos of the Stoics: the force of nature
that reconciles human and divine.

The road—unchanged. Hayfields to the west,
woods to the east. A hard wind shoves us down
into the swamp the hunters call Black Gum,
to the cross path marked by a disc harrow

whose nearly rusted-out seat holds two deer skulls.
Turn right, hit the bone pit, its stash of carcasses,
buzzards too busy to look up. We double back, shove
up into the wind. There, high-stepping

across the brown field close-mowed and baled—
buck, doe, fawn. In synchrony, they freeze, catch us
with their stare. Leap, freeze, leap,
straight through the hunters’ camp and into the pines.

Our eyes water from such swift beauty.
From youth gone, yet not, even if at times
all we see are rusting harrows, buzzards, bones.
As though between us, deer invisibly rustle.

Ashley Mace Havird

Ashley Mace Havird

Ashley Mace Havird’s fourth collection of poems, Wild Juice, has just been published by LSU Press in the Southern Messenger Poets Series. The Garden of the Fugitives (Texas Review Press, 2014) won the X. J. Kennedy Prize. Her poems have appeared in many journals, most recently Image, Sewanee Review, and American Journal of Poetry. Her novel, Lightningstruck (Mercer University Press, 2016), won the Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction. www.ashleymacehavird.com.
Ashley Mace Havird

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Author: Ashley Mace Havird

Ashley Mace Havird’s fourth collection of poems, Wild Juice, has just been published by LSU Press in the Southern Messenger Poets Series. The Garden of the Fugitives (Texas Review Press, 2014) won the X. J. Kennedy Prize. Her poems have appeared in many journals, most recently Image, Sewanee Review, and American Journal of Poetry. Her novel, Lightningstruck (Mercer University Press, 2016), won the Ferrol Sams Award for Fiction. www.ashleymacehavird.com.