How to Release Dead Animals

it is hot and windy. your face
is probably covered in hair
your body out

I am reminded of the animals
I’ve kept, many of which
have died in my care – snails, toads,
spiders – clearly dead

some had been melted
in tupperwares in which
I had also caught a star
now back into the wild

unable to throw them away
unsure of their use now, as they
no longer moved in my room
unsure of where it was
I had found them

running away, around
this whole time, open
mouth against clear
sloped walls

even the rocks I’ve kept, like
tears hidden up my nose
or in my ears
I’ve wanted to keep forever
my ultimate stubbornness
to be an everything-sized cage

to be your whole world
suddenly my mouth is full
I set the dead on the knape
of the Earth, an armadillo
rooting its vast, known circle
flinching, closing

the dead to skitter off one day
the Earth to have rings
the dead to die again and
again, having lived

again I am unsure about
the size of the world
where the color goes
on captive animals

why they feel different
how they could have died

if I can love something
without having to have it

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