Back to Issue Thirty-Six





I think of my bones as wood,
something slow
put here
a long time ago. There was a river
outside the city I grew up in—
floating in it moved me
east, toward a graveyard
where one of my names was
cut from the stone.
I could move that marker, heaving
it to one side, hearing
the ripping of grass.
Grass rips
from the roots, the sound sounds
exactly as expected: not a complaint,
more like an announcement,
an introduction
of air and something left
dangling. Do you know
the sound of separation?
No? You will
see the rain scatter
flecks of dirt on carnation petals,
so much texture,
so much pink
pooling in the throats, like happiness
or regret
or something
along those lines.








A perfect shot, entering just behind the front leg,
will explode the heart—

it dies standing up.

Dave bagged one last autumn
with his 270 Savage;

boned out, it weighed in at 1300 pounds.

They’re not like deer: hit one with a car
and the legs snap,

the massive body falls

right through the windshield, a long last breath
steaming into the predawn.

Fire as you exhale,

or hold your breath. The birds fly away
with hardly a squawk,

they know they’re not in season.

Then it’s just you, the sound of water
moving down the mountain,

and the quiet body of a moose

still standing
two hundred yards upwind.




Calvin Olsen’s poetry and translations have appeared in AGNIAsymptoteThe London MagazineThe National Poetry ReviewPoet Lore, and elsewhere. He currently lives in North Carolina, where he is a doctoral student in Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media at NC State University and a research fellow at the Hill Library Innovation Studio. More work can be found at

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