H
ad you left
me alive, I would have killed
a rabbit for my pleasure.

Our proportion of skeleton to fur
would make me sure at least
of being animate.

The pelt, dead and bristling,
might guard me from death,
a city wet with the rain of better places.

Rubbing the skin so hard into my skin,
it would have been the gentlest thing.
It would have been a better brain.

My vanishing is a meadow
and I know my kill still moves
more or less disturbed,

every leap blowing the shell
off my deformed blue-lipped bud.

I would work myself into the dirt if I could stay.

Listen:

Elizabeth Metzger

Elizabeth Metzger’s first collection, The Spirit Papers, won the 2016 Juniper Prize and was published by University of Massachusetts Press in 2017. Her chapbook, The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, was published by Horsethief Books in 2017. Her poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, Poem-a-Day on Poets.org, and The Nation. Her essays and reviews appear in PN Review, Southwest Review, and Boston Review. She is currently an adjunct assistant professor of Writing at Columbia University and the Poetry Editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal.