A Secret Recipe for Death

The first time I went shooting
a mudded clay stuck to my shoes.
It could not be kicked off,
would not slue, made you scrape it.

On my turn to set the targets
I trudged bowlegged to the rock
backdrop that sent the sound of ricochets
careening through the sagebrush.

Target clamped, I turned back.
Off to one side, a carcass lay
on its side—a dog or large fox
judging by its ripping teeth,
skinned to the paws, skull blown open
but no brains.

Too cold for maggots yet,
the muscles purple-red and slick,
the eyes unfocused, one almost
taking in the power lines, the other
soft-focused just below the horizon.

Calvin Olsen is an Edinburgh-based poet and translator. His work has recently appeared in AGNI, Asymptote, The London Magazine, The Los Angeles Review, Poet Lore, and others. More work can be found at https://www.calvin-olsen.com.

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