• Lesson in Winter

    J. P. Grasser

    Fall 2018

    The Sandhills were fixed in ice.
    The buckwheat chaffs looked breakable,

    like the fletching of a glass arrow
    or a mouse’s contorted skeleton, housed

    within an owl pellet. The night before,
    we caught a possum in a plastic bucket,

    under the house’s cement foundation.
    The foundation was cracked from years of scale

    and thaw. Aunt Carol handed me your .22,
    so I put a bullet behind its ear, then cleaned

    the gun. I used solvent and a swatch of linen,
    just how you showed me that summer.

    Because the world was so bright,
    we were late to your funeral. We kept running

    off the road. When the possum thawed,
    and mealworms ate their way out, I looked

    through the window they’d opened
    in its gut and a litter looked placidly back.

    J. P. Grasser is a current Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and a PhD candidate in literature and creative writing at the University of Utah, where he serves as editor-in-chief of Quarterly West.

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