Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2014  Vol. 13  No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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The School

The anaconda was useful. The youngest
obeyed more readily and occasionally
did not return from the boiler room.

The older children paid attention
to lessons in toolmaking and chemistry.
They formed acids that scald, then used boar
bristle brushes to outline the boundaries of their lives.

Wolverines were introduced, worrying
carrion out on the playing fields. Then
jackals. We watched them seize viscera
and tug, quivering the whole of the rubbery
carcass, shredding the body into ragged skeins
as the steady rain fell. When the teacher intoned

Nature red in tooth and claw, we understood.
They were out there, weaving drunkenly
among the puddles, fur flecked with mud, our parents
waiting in the road beyond: a line of black cars, idling.  end  

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