Indistinguishable from the snow
they stand on and from each
other, they gamely eat the set-
out pellets, unaware of being
I see their
heads over the hearth of that
house, where I read by the fire:
a child’s story of a white stag,
hunted, prized for…I don’t
know what I thought then, but
now I know: For a beauty we
Yet here they
linger, so close, as if we are
worthy, as if inviting the shot—
on film, at least; at first. Their
gaze is like ours, staring at that
lacquered gallery, mounted heads
falsely alive in the firelight.
had died by our uncle's hands
brought into the house like
guests, to be displayed as art:
buck, trout, hare, doe. Every eye,
glassy impassive, amber like
the lake from which they’d
drawn their lives.
live now in this image: ivory,
otherworldly, asking in their
silence, their calm, for us to
end them; to ruin and own them.
It is the gift of all animals: to
show us the depths of our desire.
All rights reserved to Nathaniel Bellows.