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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 9, Number 1, March 2015

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Ferris Gilli
Marietta, Georgia, USA


Picked Clean

There's no comfort anywhere in the grit-filled wind and blinding sun. Too many months of drought in the Gran Chaco. Today a thread of excitement sharpens our voices. Our horses tug against their reins, heads bobbing restlessly. Steady flashes of light and low rumbles from the dark horizon hold our attention. I listen to the rapid mix of Spanish and GuaranĂ­ as the ranch hands discuss possibilities. They assess the thunderheads. We urge the horses on in our search for weakened strays, pushing through a palm forest where every sound is dry. The rustle of fronds, the flutters and rasps of unseen birds, hooves crunching on stiff, sandy duff. I leave the trees, moving onto a flat stretch of red earth picked clean of grass.

as the first raindrops
streak our dusty faces
vultures scuffle
over the fresh remains
of a cow giving birth

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