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  • he is kicking her in the head.
    she attacked him, he thinks, not understanding
    that she might not have meant to,
    that perhaps it is excessive to respond
    with violence.
    he knows only that he must kick her
    until she receives what she deserves.
    in his remove from his body,
    driven apart by adrenaline and bile,
    a small tangle of neurons flashes stop,
    because in this moment he forgives her,
    the mother of his child, he loves her, but
    in his pause his senses fail
    to warn him of the wolves
    stalking beyond the brush,
    preparing to revenge their fallen sister,
    the wolves who will steal his son,
    their nephew, away and raise the boy on mice
    and deer flesh and hunt him
    in the rye fields by the river.
    the boy will listen to them tell
    that all that she could do was vomit,
    that his father abandoned her and
    left for work and beneath the ceiling
    of cool earth the boy heard the engine
    and exhaust of the car go the other way out
    along the road, and he will stare down
    at the dirt of the den.
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