CHASE GILBERT

Beasts in the Orange Grove

 

Two Australian sheep herding dogs,
brother and sister and inseparable,
held domain in the citrus grove off
Treasure Road.

They were mean
and too smart, had too many teeth.
They murdered whatever they could,
always some animal’s scared blood on their lips.

There must have been bodies decomposing in the dirt,
feeding those trees, getting into the pulp and juice
of thousands of oranges, cumquats, grapefruits.

They would corral me, charge, and break away at
the moment I accepted death
and made peace with the odd moments of my life.

After, they always looked back, always wanted
me to know they could have, if they wanted to,
and maybe show me, in one gray eye and one brown,
that they had killed men bigger and less deserving than me,
that their land was fed with the left-overs of old trespassers.

I met their only master in that grove often
in late darkness, smelling orange blossom,
hiding and being too young
to keep the world fair.

I always expected their teeth from the darkness,
not seeing the real danger,
the once-sick girl, picking fruit and
chiding her puppies,
begging them to
please not be so cruel.

 

Chase Gilbert was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, spends his days working in Manhattan and the rest of his time writing and surviving in Brooklyn.

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