Tell me—I can’t remember—
where did you first enter,
and tell me, how many other
times had you tracked me before?
When did you first slither
into me, before I could remember,
start bolting my cage, edge my talons sharper?
Did nothing register through the budding feathers,
tiny cries? How many other
times did circumstance order
you to play a role besides hunter?
You see, now I can remember your face elsewhere,
options beyond the unkindness you favored—
hooking fish, downing birds.
But I won’t burrow in murk like my mother;
I won’t keep your evil submerged.
You didn’t count on a deviation from the pattern.
So tell me what was never there for me to remember:
Were there others? No—how many others?
Raegen Pietrucha writes, edits, and consults creatively and professionally. Her chapbook, An Animal I Can’t Name, won the 2015 Two of Cups Press competition; her debut poetry collection, Head of a Gorgon, is forthcoming with Vegetarian Alcoholic Press in 2022; and she has a memoir in progress. She received her MFA from Bowling Green State University, where she was an assistant editor for Mid-American Review. Her work has been published in Cimarron Review, Puerto del Sol, and other journals. Connect with her at raegenmp.wordpress.com and on Twitter @freeradicalrp.