Kathryn Almy: Self Portrait as Dog with a Mouthful of Feathers

I didn’t kill it myself, but I seem to float
towards decay.
Instinct says stop,
drop and roll whenever any corpse washes up,

sand in my fur, this smell
changing me in a chemical way
not even my ancestors understood.

Fluff and bones are trophies, like snow-
flakes, socks, bumblebees: treasures I bury.

I open my mouth to shout in triumph, but
out comes only a hoarse croak
and puff of sticky, tickling down

—the blades and barbs are black, mashed,
the little white eyes hardly show,
the iridescence dimmed.

It feels like being beaten for crimes I cannot see.

There is a knot within me: feathers, bugs, scum, and bark

—everything I have eaten,

this eternal world beyond the reach of words.

Originally published on Silver Birch Press

© Kathryn Almy
blog: Kathryn Almy
portfolio: here