Sasha West

July 21, 2021 West Sasha



Some days I could go quietly into the spot where
the man tended the boy’s wounds and fed him
torn meat pulled from the pheasant’s body Some days
I went into only that spot Some days only landing
in that Some days I could choose to go quickly to
the day when kindness turned the tide disaster
turned the man fed the boy by hand torn meat
from the pheasant’s roasted breast Some days
almost everyone was gone their camp lingered
in front of me I was suspicious of the new world
the new world was always formed from killing
the old their scent lingered how tender Some days
I could choose just that one day boy gathered
to a stranger’s body boy like pieta under the man’s
face turned down I had held my daughter like that
even after she got too big the boy gathered to him by
the fire the man’s hand tearing a bird for the boy’s warmth
Some days I chose the boy gathered to the man’s coat
fed pheasant by hand from the man’s mouth from
the fire Some days I could choose: the man’s hand
tearing flesh, the boy’s mouth opening to take it

Sasha West‘s first book, Failure and I Bury the Body (Harper Perennial), was a winner of the National Poetry Series, the Texas Institute of Letters First Book of Poetry Award, and a Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Fellowship. She is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX.