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POETRY

Ode to Venison

by Laura Rashley

my grandfather, singing, comes into the kitchen
wearing only his boxers, the rest of his clothes left on the porch
in case of ticks, for the blood to dry. my mother at the table
is told to bring him the leather bag he keeps under the sink

I killed, I killed, I killed
thebiggestdeerintheforest
 
from the rafter in my grandfather’s shop sway two deer,
brothers, dancing intimate & honest circles
around one another, their bodies an earnest church
of velvet and the sugar-sweet afternoon rain

I shot, I shot, I shot
thebiggestdeerintheforest

when he’s good & drunk on whiskey Arnold Palmers he calls me
to hold the bucket between my knees so he can drain the harts
for more to fill his cup. it’s here i learn the language of a hand
pulling upward on my shirt toward the backyard

It’s dead, It’s dead, It’s dead
thebiggestdeerintheforest

i help my grandmother load the paper packages
into the freezer. heavy like a stack of books they sit
one on top of the other waiting to be cracked open,
to be read back into buck & brilliant battle

Now I’m, Now I’m, Now I’m
thebiggestdeerintheforest

what else is there to come of daughters & songs?

Laura Rashley
Laura Rashley is a writer and editor living in Charleston, South Carolina. She holds a degree in English from the College of Charleston, and her poems have been featured in Prairie Schooner, Poetry Quarterly, Fall Lines, and others, in addition to having been exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery. A Presidential Scholar in the Arts and a National YoungArts Finalist, she currently works as an editorial manager, has recently adopted a second cat, and ran her first marathon last January.
Submit your work! Grist: A Journal of the Literary Arts, seeks high quality submissions from both emerging and established writers. We publish craft essays and interviews as well as fiction, nonfiction, and poetry—and we want to see your best work, regardless of form, style, or subject matter. We read general submissions from May 15 - August 15 and from March 15 - April 30 for our ProForma Contest.

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