South Carolina Review, 48:1 (Fall 2015)





Easter at the Camp, Stonewall, Louisiana



We've pinned him down beside the barn

on a paint-scabbed bench. 

In Michael’s hand, a pocket-knife. 

No anesthesia. The screaming

sounds more child than goat.


Nancy grips his front legs,

Dave, the hind.

My hands press the ribs,

the kicking heart.

Marion holds his little horns.

Nick, who’s ten, runs circles around us

and points: "Are they what holds the pee?" 


Junior's eyes are filmy bulbs.

His shivery bleating rises. …

Once he goes quiet, limp as a rug,

we love him.  "He's given up."

Marion shrugs. "He's ready to be eaten."

Michael's shirt is a red-brown Rorschach

of spilt Betadyne.

Junior's tongue is blue.

Mosquitoes, too early, shrill in our ears.

Mended with gauze and duct tape,

he blinks once, wobbles to his feet,

then climbs the hay bales straight up

to where they meet the roof.


They lie on a Bounty towel

on the bench, looking remarkably

like the eggs we hide—

first boiled, then dyed.