One time, I took a pig’s tail

off the slaughter table

and stuck it in my pocket

as I walked home in the cold–

my granddaddy never knew

because I could walk stealthily

around the equipment shed turned

slaughter house.

And one time, when no one was looking,

I threw baby sparrows out of their nests

and watched them writhe in the loose dust below.

Their eyes were blackened moons beneath a veil of skin,

and their naked bodies unnerved me.

Once, down the road away from the house and grownups,

I stuck my arm down the narrow muddy shaft of a crawdad

and reached until my check touched the cool, wet ground.

But there was nothing there.

And once I climbed to the top of the stunted oak

looked through the branches down at my kingdom

and dreamt of the life I came so close to living.

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