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Moon for K. B.

by Andy Fahlgren, '14

The antelope were dead for miles
clumped and halved and brainless against 
the snow drifts’ red shoulders.
They fouled the tracks from the glassless 
old Tampico post office on down past
the standalone belfry near the ruins
of sister Vandalia. These antelope had trickled 
single-file from starved far-off hills
marched through nose-high prairie labyrinths to
mill idiotic and crazed along the right-of-way—
hundreds penned in a moment of bare ground
waiting for the train to roll through, 
vicious as a fist,
indifferent as a shrug.

I regret driving out here 
to see the massacre myself. 
I remembered the stories
about the bad one of ’64 
when the ranchers laid out charity hay
God never meant for antelope to eat. 
In the spring, they found the corpses
their hides bound tight over hay-balled bellies.
Wasn’t much anyone could do.

The moon hangs close tonight and the white
of its pearly light and the white 
of the snow echo across the sky. 
Twin streams of that light cut along the bright edge
of the tracks flowing east back to town,
for the man who fell down his front steps
for the boy who was always crying. 
Straight, vanishing needles of light
run on rails past a million tragedies
I want to have changed, but for God. 

On these tracks, on this side of town, 
is where my waitress once sat
and waited for the train 
and then it came.