Spirit Animal

When I was a kid
I thought an elk
must be my spirit animal
and the one
I wanted most to be.

I lived to spot them
on long walks
through the mountainous
high country
at the edges of meadows
and through the aspens.

Paul observed
I behaved like
an armadillo—
curled into my shell,
a protected ball, whenever
I got teased.

I guess he was right.

Riding rural
southwest highways
with their countless corpses
marking the pavement
flattens me
like news of another
friend’s death.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney

One thought on “Spirit Animal

  1. Haunting and intimate. I can especially relate with the sight of corpses littering the highway knocking you flat. This business of living and dying is so messy and terrible and beautiful.


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