We pressed toward the mouth
of the jungle, the rush of motorbikes
and ocean falling away.
The dead cow
was the color of smoke and cream;
when we passed by her
the first time.
Men in straw hats and ball caps
loosened the ropes around her back legs;
the rest of the body
had already collided with the dirt, neck
cocked back, heavy and slack; the eyes,
I might have imagined it, slightly wider
than living cow eyes,
the stream of blood, bright
sash on a pageant queen,
poured into the ditch
across our path.
On the return from the jungle,
the fire is just smoke, and the cow
a sack of skin, appearing almost hairless
and thick, like wet rubber, sewn closed.
The blood has been drunk
by the ground, sucked through
the teeth of the ditch, below
the place in the air
where her throat was cut.
Theodosia Henney is a Pushcart Prize-nominated queer whose poems and flash prose have appeared or are forthcoming in over a dozen publications, including RHINO, Grey Sparrow Journal, Fifth Wednesday, Vestal Review, Ozone Park, and Dirtcakes. She recently returned from several months of living out of a backpack, and is profoundly excited at the prospect of having shelves again.