I am standing in a mud
gutter down by the train tracks.
killing a woodchuck down
between the power lines.
dry rot. shiver. fast rainstorm.
I am holding tight to the woodchuck
and howling good girl, good girl,
good girl, good girl, good girl, over
and over and louder
when I was small, we laid my things
in the yard, by the lilac bush
where I picked out what to throw away.
sit. stay. good girl.
shiver, the tender neck
grows slick and slicker,
the taste of blood, sweet ichor
the heat source,
this dirt letter.
I am steadying my hand:
cutting the woodchuck open
I could count the rings,
count how long I’ve been sitting with it.
the things we keep and the things we throw away.
a box of photographs. a quilt.
a woodchuck’s bleeding core.
Art by Gonzalo Navarro
Gonzalo Navarro is an illustrator, sculptor, photographer, writer… thing-maker, based in New Zealand. He is also an award-nominee author with his graphic novel Aotearoa Whispers. He works with different media, mainly ink and watercolours, and enjoys the magic of delivering a message without words.
Born in Maine. Ran to Pittsburgh. Made of bees and coffee and blood and glass.