Pathetic Fallacy by JP Grasser

The stillborn calf drops

to the ground, all wet

& good, smelling of life

freshly—; out in the fields,

the objective fields, winter

entrenches itself,

frost-heaves between

walls of bright feedcorn,

so gleeful, mistakenly so—;

our best dogwoods lust

after a scent, anything,

anything that isn’t their own,

that doesn’t smell of animal

mating—; oh wind, tell me

the one about dawn again,

rosy-fingered & coy,

tell me about the men

huddled inside a horse,

how the piss dripped

from their ankles—;

March, a stillborn calf,

a heifer bled-out

in labor. We skinned

them both. We draped

their hides over the living

& grafted each to each

as daybreak grafts

to the erratic breakers

& their leaden manes.

Even the magpie put

off its errand of covetousness

& came down from its tree

to pace the stern gravel,

up & back, up & back, waiting

for the postman to arrive.


A Wallace Stegner Fellow, J.P. Grasser is a PhD candidate at the University of Utah, where he edits Quarterly West.