By Carly Rae Winchell
There were so many dead prairie dogs.
What’s a prairie dog you ask? Well,
it’s sort of like a squirrel, just minus the bushy tail
the ruddy colored fur, the love of acorns
(though that might not actually be the case)
and the trees of course.
In fact, go ahead and Subtract the whole thing.
Now you have a prairie dog. Small, tan,
annoying to land owners and irresistible to tourists,
despite their habit of carting about the black plague.
(Who’s scared of that nowadays anyway?)
Things to consider when pondering prairie dogs.
Craning your neck up towards the powder blue sky, standing
on your tiptoes, your whole body extended to be greeted by the sun.
The long golden grass of the plains,
The perfect simile for a Viking maiden’s hair.
A gust of wind through said grass, rippling like one enormous
organism, muscles shifting under skin, preparing to leap.
A flooded field, an entire prairie dog metropolis drowned
in an instant, tunnels filled, casualties trapped under
the Earth, tomb their very own halls and bedrooms
encasing all of the tiny sodden bodies.
Somewhere a farmer dances for joy at the massacre,
he hates prairie dog architecture, just doesn’t see the appeal in it.
The solid plunk of the prairie dog’s skull against a grey plastic bumper,
knowing that if she hadn’t stood just then, she would be fine,
basking in the mountain sun.