About the Feature

I peer into the towel casket, reach
unfurred hand to rusted red crown, down
the unknotted spine I imagine
being crushed by the crescendo
car wheeling murder towards it.

I lift the eyes, now my eyes,
I don’t want, look the spine
in its bruised and knuckly face.

Spine, I ask, whatever species
in you that answers—fox or human—
take yourself away. Bury yourself
in a fox meadow. Other foxes there
want to speak to you, too. They yowl.

You are dead. Let there be no confusion.

You are. But I can stand that.
I can stand here, touching the story,
pretend it’s not unraveling
beneath my fingers. Fox, lift my hands
with your wise muzzle. We can
resist this: fox tooth and human nail.

You are dead.

But if it was my power to speak
death, to you I’d be silent forever.
I’m only speaking.
This tongue, if it were twine, I’d spin it
shut till it became a rope.
And with that rope I’d replace the spine
some fucking bastard broke.

About the Author

Matthew Brady Klitsch received his MFA in poetry from Drew University. His poems have appeared in 5am, Colorado Review, the Dirty Napkin, and the Massachusetts Review, among others. He lives in New Jersey and divides his time working in a veterinary hospital, animal shelter, and wildlife rehabilitation center.