Lucy M. Logsdon
In the Land that Forgot Respect
Here, in the land of manure and plenty,
everything’s lovely as a CG film.
The grasses so green, they pop.
The corn so thick, you could
climb it. The air so fresh.
You get the idea.
But what if we are too much?
Squint. There in the afternoon
sparkle, beside a giant bag of chips,
under the extra large pickle jars,
see the misty shimmer of doubt? Sniff.
There’s a pungent odor,
the fruit right before it sours,
goes south. Too much ease–
flip flopping down the aisles.
Like a fatted pig. Like a great, flapping belly.
No one’s peering over their shoulder,
watching for the neon warning:
your luck is running out. No one’s prepping
the escape route, the rutted, worn one
with the hoof prints right down the middle.
(Every good cow knows her way out.)
How’s this for an invite to the obliteration?
For the murderer coming through
the unlocked door, the shooter
in your living room. The virus, the bomb,
the bullet. The moment before
what- have- we- done?
Should we worry more, double check the lock?
Nothing is this easy. Watch the horizon,
see the roiling dust. That rough beast
again. How will we greet him
this time? Gold, gifts, guns, denial.
Or padded bed, juicy roast,
and warmed oil to brush his coat
as you wait to rub those ancient ears,
then floss the forbidden teeth.
A Bargaining with my Forest’s Fox
Red fox, kill or kit in your teeth,
you move so you are always just
on vision’s edge—trotting towards
the trees. You sense how much
I want to see you, you sense
my damned domestication.
We both know it’s wrong.
A major mistake occurred in my making.
Red fox: I need to be you—bones and muscle
draped with ragged fur, savage pointed teeth,
impeccable ears, light foot.
Scent. Pulse. Blood lust.
The place I work might miss
the switch. No more remediation,
obedience training. Their written reprimands,
crumpled, scat-smeared could waft
away, white birds in wind.
Like doves. A pair. To tame
the female of a species,
corner, maim, or kill her mate.
She’ll lose her footing, circle back
Confused. She’ll whine,
paw the ground.
In my office, I jiggle the mouse
uselessly. Authorities, once trusted,
have fired my husband. My office chair
spins me. The walls close in.
We’ll both turn animal now,
flee into poverty. As for the students,
we’ll leave one letter—boldly
printed, taped to a bathroom door:
Do not trust your education. Instinct
bears better results. Assess the data.
Run the numbers. Sniff the wind.
If you catch the reek of disaster,
if your eyes tear from burning debt,
if you are told to remain calm,
you are already in the storm’s eye.
You’ve become the bottom line.
Already spent. All mythologies
point to this: never trust one holding
a ledger, an arrow, a gun. Gods will
be gods. Cruel, vengeful. Bored.
Often dumb. Howl all you want.
No one will listen, except those
in the forest, ready for the wounded,
and their bright