The rite at the hunting site

by Clayton Eshleman

        “The rite at the hunting site, given to the souls of the animal
        killed, was thus basic, in the sense that it was addressed to its
        soul essence and the general fertility of the species.”

This is Weston LaBarre in The Ghost Dance, 1972,    I keep
driving by these run over squirrels, and the distance between the rite LaBarre
and our feel for dead animals today, especially the ones we kill they are glassy
red blood flesh black hair,    organs mashed, stripes of animal, no animal,
just mash, driven over again and again

Those sleeping along the sides of roads throughout America
The sleeping squirrels, the sleeping chipmunks, the fat crushed woodchucks

My own demise is singular.  These are Whitmanian multitudes.

The duck eyes, the rodent smells, the crane winks, all the animals
now waiting for the Rapture when we will cease to run them over

We have lost the great omentum,    the nutrient sac of
     compassion, renewal,
     guilt for having killed,
                                             (GIs killing Afghanis “for the hell of it”
in the news)
                     but the squirrel the squirrel we do not need the squirrel
          so we flatten “it,”  drive over “it”

I’m enraged by something deeper than I can grasp
That prayer for renewal has been turned into disregard

                SO WHAT
                                   Get to the cleaners on time.