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Clade Song 13

owl pellet

the thing that I wanted to say is I’m
sorry, and I did, on the bench beside
the rosebush, on the phone. it was just another

way of giving up, body coiled like rabbit haunch – this
is what I do when it gets too hard, I rabbit,
turtle, hide my head and let it all fall down. people say

I take too much. every summer at the water tower I sift
sand beneath the conglomerate for something I
can name. owl pellet to pull apart just like

the one dad brought home out of which I teased
five tiny mandibles, so many long bones. three hours
at the kitchen table – god knows I’ve spent

longer than that trying to work out what went wrong.
easy to catalog these things, pick apart
what we spit out down to the very last carpal and tooth,

but somewhere in there I gave up, swallowed, let the ribs
lodge in the throat on their way down. drank
so much water after I liquefied, eroded down to marrow. fullness

in the gut still empty. you ask
me if I love you and I rabbit, turtle, swallow
what isn’t good for me. wish this time I could owl,

body primed for what I can’t digest. can you
imagine living all that lean muscle, talon scissor-
sharp, sweet gizzard to take everything

that hurts and compact it for the perfect
release in weight when you spit it out, slick fur and bone,

and leave it all behind you in the sand.

Briana Lubinski is from the sagebrush desert of eastern Washington but currently studying creative writing and Spanish on the Pacific coast at Western Washington University. Her work generally focuses on place, nostalgia, and all things living, dead, or somewhere in between. Her writing has appeared in the Scribendi and Jeopardy magazines, and she is currently working on her first poetry chapbook, which will likely go aggressively untitled until the last minute. She is a rock climber, nature enthusiast, and lover of objectively bad movies.