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Una Candida Cerva, Kechi, Kansas, 2003


The gutted doe they’d strung up out behind Gino’s Bar-B-Q, rarely open anymore since his diabetes then his cancer but the smoker going full tilt today, the day of the citywide garage sales. The kill is fresh enough that blood still pools in the bare dirt below it, and when my girlfriend’s dog escapes its lead I look for her in that direction. Thick rope ties two hooves to two oak branches, splaying the disemboweled thing two feet above the earth where she sways, her eyes fly-covered and glazed. A tear of cardboard tacked to the dead beast’s hind, scrawled in black Sharpie says: Do Not Touch. The lunch line outside forming, the air so dense with the smoker’s pungent billows of bright white heat I trip over a crate of empties, I call out again and listen for the jangle of the dog’s collar tags; cars speed by on their way to where they go, the only other sound is Gino cursing. I return to my sale, two doors down, where my old horse-trader neighbor is trying to move a stack of glass window blocks I had bought for a good reason. The dog eventually trots in and then retches a pool of shimmery grease into a box of books marked at $1 per.