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Every Meal Tastes of Premonition
from “Dear Fox, Dear Barn”


Dearest Barn,


Every meal tastes of premonition: hens bleed silver at the slaughter; rabbits burst to powder when touched; the last geese are slicked with mercury gone cold. Soon, winter will come. My fur bled its color grey as ash. You would not recognize me. Russet leaked clean by the frost, like I’m a rag wrung dry. How strange to no longer be a mirror of your hue.


Now that my flush has left, the dead keep mistaking me for one of them. They ask me out on dates, lend me paperbacks, offer me coffee from those blue tin camping cups with the starry patina. “No thank you,” I say. “You’ve got it wrong,” I say. & they laugh in that way only the dead can laugh—like whatever I said may have been what killed them.


The last chicken I killed was plump with un-laid eggs. Still translucent, membraned, the shell unformed. When I opened them, they were yolkless– filled with snow.


The dead learned my name, somehow. Perhaps they found your letters. Perhaps they heard me barking in my sleep. Now they wont stop saying it. They jump rope to it & mutter it into pickle jars. They croon it as a lullaby to their young & greet each other with it. They all sign their own name as “Fox.”

GennaRose Nethercott