after you cut
down the dead
the field yawns
and gives for the first
time in twenty years
            a glimpse
of red beyond the shuddering
metal and wood teeth
the remains of man’s work

no life except
            a gray body
shell of hollow skin
we count the bands
six, no, seven
marvel at the armor
left behind
never seen one walking
only knew its afterlife

we trudge homeward
talking of terrace
what we could do with
all this nakedness, till you meet
            the skeleton
of that copse of pines
which once harbored your
calico who, startled by noise,
jumped from the deck and
cowered there

that night
flashlight in hand
you found her in the needles
            and brought her inside.

Diane Callahan strives to capture her sliver of the universe through writing fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. As a developmental editor and ghostplotter, she spends her days shaping stories. Her YouTube channel, Quotidian Writer, provides practical tips for aspiring authors. You can read her poetry in The Hellebore, The Sunlight PresssemicolonVita BrevisThe Interpreter’s HouseRust+Moth, and Kissing Dynamite, among others.

[image: Dcrjsr | Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), bark on trunk of mature tree]

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