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.



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