Paula Bohince


Father’s paroled during the drought
of seventy-eight only to vanish again, this time
taking me with him—
stealing into Levi’s pasture for cow skeletons,
sun-stripped and patiently gleaming
between the crushed iris.
Above and around us, the electric fence
hums like God—
a magnification of the dreaming gnats we awakened
discovering the lode of bones.
Collecting skull, rib, sternum, spine, the dead
rise, and we forget to be afraid,
thinking only of profit, new lives:
bird earrings from breastbone, the knife-stroke
of feather, fish candlesticks
from femur, long and tapered as sabers.
Escaping through acres where the living cattle
study us, an ache
in language-less throats, we struggle
to carry home all we can hold, glancing heavenward
with knowing, with eyes growing large
all over our bodies.

Paula Bohince
Trespass first appeared in the Grolier Poetry Prize Annual for 2005.