Today's poem is by Anna B. Sutton

Two Whooping Cranes Are Found Shot Dead in Hopkins County

I've never been close enough to a man
and a gun to see the way that a shell disappears

from its chamber, but I can imagine the hot knife
of sound; the two lithe bodies plummeting

into a lake; the dog, her teeth curled
around the neck of the first crane—hunger

has been trained out of her. This is what
I imagine, though the authorities call it

a thrill kill, summon the image of a different
mouth, a perfect black O steadied against

the bed of an old truck, limp gray bodies
left behind. When the reward is offered,

authorities are sure to mention that the pair
had mated for life, that the male was found

picked apart by scavengers, a few feet
from its female—found alive, kept alive

for a handful of days. Her body was littered
with shrapnel. A thousand miles east,

another clutch of eggs is hatching, another
apology, another bloodless puppet teaching

the little cranes to eat, to fly, to leave.

Copyright © 2015 Anna B. Sutton All rights reserved
from The Southeast Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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