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Pima Road Notebook #6 by Keith Ekiss

25/10/2010

Staying Sickness

By Keith Ekiss

If you cause the wrong owl suffering, or disturb

jackrabbit tracks while your wife lies pregnant,

if you eat berries claimed by coyote, a sickness

might take years to surface, blisters swelling

in your child’s mouth. You must hear the songs

while the shaman swings a coyote tail

about the child.

Thus, soft talk before a hunt,

speak obliquely of the quarry. The badger causes

throat sores. Field mouse makes a baby not shit.

The quail hunter uses caution, the eggs

and meat are eaten, but the head’s torn off,

preventing blindness. You can track cottontail,

relishing the boiled ears, even if your wife carries

another child. Surround the rabbit on horseback,

drive it by fire from the brush before a feast.

Settlers will mistake the hollow bones for birds,

so obviously designed for flight.

*

New Issues has recently published Keith Ekiss’ book of poems Pima Road Notebook.

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