The Guardian’s Accurate Shotgun Upon Your Brow
by Maureen Alsop

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Alone in the farm room you remained untouched
by the juniper rasp in the tree window. The funerary
rope from the mauled bodies hung from a north rafter. You
heard the chirrup of the kid-goat, the burned silverfish
in her fur lung. Too much energy to cry, so you
would. Holy apostolic field,
the doeling sloughs her radiance.

Now, it is yours, stranger.

You held the mauled body, suckled
her sow eyes closed, undercurrent
of lupine in the mudbloom. You wanted
to taste the clay intestine, the corridor
of her far-off bells. Your Napoleon facade
beamed. Now

it is yesterday at the abbey, keyholes in limestone
revealed the missing animal face. You kissed
her mildew knapsack, made a coat of minerals,
placed your body in the woodbox, lit the stove gas.

Restive in your small purring, you consider

her nose capillaries leaking blossoms, what’s left her
flees into the glade. Fascia of purple pollen
clouds the mountain, as does this guardian
who holds you her image as an accurate
shotgun upon your brow.