My body stood full
of blood at the Christmas pageant.
I spent the night awash in a man’s borrowed gown
years before anyone would
tell me the northern stars are dead
and will someday eat my family.
The next week, kicked in the chest by a mare
and held accountable in the frozen barn,
chained machinery leaking oil into my hair.
I did abide in my youth, pirouette toward sugar,
and joyride at night.
I fell through the elm, wore its limbs like a king.
Alone, I asked how to touch
the many mansions rising for me,
even if a fire was there to dim its jaws on the walls.
If I stared into the flat eyes of the fish
thrashing on the ice
before I tried to gut it, alone.
Skyler Osborne received an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, TX. His work has most recently appeared in Best New Poets, Narrative, No Tokens, and elsewhere.