Fall 2018Poetry

“Captain” – Matthew Klitsch

Captain

emaciated dumb          thirst orphan
human father               passed you like a plush
toy among his children
(and the family dog)
because:
“When I was a kid, we played
with raccoons all the time”

Euthanize the animal, says HD,

scruff, your mother held you

rabies is transmitted via saliva.

bless your tracheal air               and its passing
through dead blood                   river
washing the incised                   darkness
underneath esophagus              you praised
each morsel                                 in your mind

Careful severing the spine, vet says,

juvenile first vertebra, razor

spinal fluid, the other transmitter.

memory, strange is memory

we save this raccoon     ‘s brain
for the State we will       send
a skull away                     from the body
no one will claim


Author Bio: Matthew Brady Klitsch received his MFA in Poetry from Drew University. His poems have appeared in 5AMColorado ReviewThe PinchThe Florida Review, & Nimrod, among others. He lives in New Jersey where he works in a veterinary hospital and has previously worked in animal welfare and wildlife rehabilitation.

The author: Mike Robbins