by Jessica Lynn Suchon
Scavengers find the doe before us, but we find
what is left— bloated stomach pulled so tight
the skin split beneath their beaks
like the seam of a leather canteen. Intestines,
still spotted pink in the dark rotten, slip
into snow. The stink of old blood and mold
rising into the chill. Viscera stitched together with lace-
I barely recognize the heart,
a muscle like any other.
I can’t look away. The doe’s mouth: unhinged
steel trap. The neck bone snapped and curved
back like a ceramic bowl. He and I stand still over the body. Afraid
it means never being able to leave him,
I do not tell him that I’m pregnant.
I know the next time I make him angry,
he will kill the baby.
I want him to.
Jessica Lynn Suchon is the author of Scavenger, winner of the 2018 Vinyl 45 Chapbook Contest and forthcoming from YesYes Books in 2019. She received her MFA from Southern Illinois University and has received honors from the Academy of American Poets, as well as an Aspen Words Emerging Writer Fellowship. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Copper Nickel, Willow Springs, and Ninth Letter, among others. She is a 2019 Tennessee Playwrights Studio Fellow and the 2019 FEMOIRE Poet-in-Residence. Her librettos have appeared or are forthcoming in works by Stephanie Ann Boyd for the Eureka Ensemble, EKMELES vocal ensemble, and Æpex Contemporary Performance with the Dark Sky Project.
"If I Stayed" by Jessica Lynn Suchon