In the dream, I pull over to the side of the highway, run to the middle of the road,
& lift the furred body I recognize as roadkill. How, seconds before, I saw the creature dash
toward the thrush of trees & I swerved to avoid it, then felt the wheels flatten it, heard its half-audible cry.
In the dream, I run my fingers through its fur, feel its still-warm body. In the dream, the Lord stands above us,
says, What’s dead stays dead. In the dream, He hands me a pocket knife, says to take what I want. A paw?
A foot to cure for a necklace or keychain? I half want to take the blade to His smoke-pocked face. Not
to the flesh of this creature, wet snout, half-shut eyes, not to these carpal bones, so much like our own, that childlike paw curling shut around my thumb.
If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere. — Vincent Van Gogh These sunflowers, their endless petals,
the yellows & blues & reds tangling
into a warm prism of light. How our minds
wander. How we mutilate in fits
of despair. & when I say love out loud
at twilight, I mean us artists turning pain
into beauty, I mean harsh brushstrokes, that vase, those blooms beaming gold.
-- Despy Boutris's writing has been published in Copper Nickel, Colorado Review, American Poetry Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Journal, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. Currently, she teaches at the University of Houston and serves as Editor-in-Chief of The West Review.