Susan Carlisle: Photograph of Judy, Holding Elk Heart (after photograph by Laura McPhee)

What is it makes us want
to hold a big wet heart
that just stopped beating?

By the bodies of the newly dead
we linger, talk—hoping
they will hear us,
the ears the last
to close the senses’ door

Judy in her rawhide jacket
in some Dakota barn:
how heavy the elk heart looks
in her steady hands, its minerals.
And how blue her eyes.

Trying to get used to winter
we run our fingertips along
its serrated edge
again and again.

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