Live Lightly on the Land

Kate Sweeney

You went out this morning to shoot birds. I know because the clam nets are gone

and I wake to more emptiness than usual. Last week, you drank too much and told me

you like the way the birds fall from the sky when you hit them just right. Either

they curl inside of themselves like metal-dipped, wilted lilies and torpedo straight into the ground,

or caught mid-glide, they collapse with a recklessness that reminds you of the way I run.

But only when you watch from a distance. You should have been a soldier.

I should have been someone else’s wife. Our daughter’s first words on waking: i hate

the sound of dead people walking under my feet when I walk on them.

Her skin, finally cool when you return, the net stuffed full of wings and feet, she insists she said bugs. I allow it. the same way I allow you

to touch me with your bare hands after all of these little murders.

Kate Sweeney has poems in Feral: A Journal of Poetry and Art, SWWIMM Everyday, The Shore Poetry & other places. She has poems forthcoming from LunchTicket, Variant Lit, & Moria Magazine and Her first chapbook, The Oranges Will Still Grow Without Us, from Ethel in 2022. Kate is Marketing Director for The Adroit Journal.