Lindsay Ahl

The Long-Horns

For 15 years, I didn’t eat meat.
Near the end of that, I’d dream
of the long-horned cattle out
by the canyon. I’d take a scythe,
cut their throats, sit down, drink
their blood. I didn’t eat meat
even if that’s what the dream meant
I should do, until many years later,
when mad cow was all the rage.
Only then did I eat. It’s like that with you
too, my mind won’t let go, I imagine you here
or there in dark alleys, girls in your arms, secret
phone calls, kisses in the dark, reality
what it is or not, what do I know. Nothing,
at all, except your waves of temper and distance.
My own reality, altered, having slit my own throat
swallowed my own blood, dreaming of men
with their arms around me, wishing they wanted
me as much as their own blood. The cows
in the canyon were ravaged, gaunt, hungry,
wandering the BLM land like ghosts of a former
lover. For 15 years, I didn’t eat. Now the ghosts
are everywhere, all around.