If you have hit a deer on the road at dusk;
climbed, shivering, out of your car
with curses to investigate the damage
done, and found it split apart and steaming
far-flung in the nettle bed, utterly beyond repair,
then you have seen what is not meant to be seen,
is packed in cannily, coiled, like parachute silks,
but unputbackable, out for the world to witness:
the looping, slicked-up clockspring
flesh’s pink, mauve, arterial red,
and there a still-pulsing web of royal veins
bearing the bad news back to the heart;
something broken, something hard, black,
the burst bowel fouling the meat
exposed for what it is, found out – as Judas,
ripped from groin to gizzard, was found
at dawn, on the elder tree, still tethered to earth
by all the ropes and anchors of his life.

from Public Dream (Picador, 2007), © Frances Leviston 2013, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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