My uncle, at his ranch. He loved those cows—
Brought them to the butcher just the same; said he honored them right
(and me? crowded by the muscled ranch hounds, dark eyes, lashes.
gouged my left leg on the long stretch of barbed wire and we washed the divot clean)
My uncle, beer in hand, eyes shining, listing the animals he loved.
Look, he said,
my favorite duck. Fuckin’—sorry, f-in’ (winked) loved that duck.
We turned to the shelf by his desk:
gazed into deep glass eyes,
feet glued stiff to a carved and varnished plank.
Madeline Rose Williams works, reads, and writes in Seattle. She has been published in Gravel, Driftwood Press, and The Project Room's Off Paper.