Two Poems

First Deer

To say the scene: sagebrush

where the deer come to rest

from valley lights, farm trucks.

They step from the corn

like words — canny, slight, unasked.

Spider, mouse, instinct — stuffing

of domestic places. Quiet virus,

urges — passing at dawn between

what can be said & what can be

only known. Cairns on top —

add a stone. Below, black fenceline,

row crops. Blood in the clay and cold

rain makes it stick. Cut meat from

bones. Hard to keep anything clean.

A Thing Running Begs to be Caught

Elkcalf Mountain

scared a moose

from bed in downfall. He crashed

off and my first move, before thought,

was to chase:

a thing running

begs to be caught.

Interstate 40

saw the cop and stepped

off. He came with gun drawn

on your knees,

hands behind your head

and though couldn’t decide

my crime, jailed anyway:

evading arrest.

Cornwall Swamp

shot a red squirrel. Once

in my hand,

small and warm,

I didn’t know why

I’d wanted it. Hide

in the bag. Keep


The slick, flickering room

held others who had turned—

Navajo in detox on the tile:

loitering at the bus station.

Young men with warrants,

Old one killed his neighbor’s

dog. Bile in the drinking fountain

and the stainless shitter—

Pursuit deeper

than compassion for the caught,

Yazi stood in the night—seized—

fell on me. Beating

the door’s inside,

yelling to no answer.

Christian Woodard is a freelance writer and guide based in Laramie, WY. He has been a news writer, orchardist, hunting guide, commercial fisherman, and ranch hand, among other dirty, violent things. He's had plenty of time to vilify and exonerate his participation in death. Long-live moral villainy! His creative writing appears in Cirque, Pudding, Work, Wilderness House, Plough Quarterly, Tidal Echoes, and BlazeVOX.