After Gabrielle Bates
Small acts of violence save us from greater ones.
It was really a small thing. So small.
Not a problem. Just an accident, a freak
accident. Not an accident, nothing serious.
Not even worth mentioning. Don’t mention
it. I’m fine. I already forgot. I wished
I didn’t see it, is all. I saw it unfold. My skis,
grinded and clean. The hard shell of the boot,
the pinch in my feet. The man in the booth
slowing the chair. I was already descending.
My legs straightening. Out from a burrow
hidden under the snow, a mouse, darting.
Doing what it could—it could not stop
the long sharp blade on my foot. The small
creature cut quick. The two halves which leapt
from each other. Hind-half losing the nerve’s
signal first. The fore seconds after. Strange
new script, red ink splattered over the page
made of snow. Among the scope of horrors,
a small one. A little thing, as if horrors compare.
I just mean it wasn’t a big deal. I wished I hadn’t seen it.
Wish it hadn’t been me. It was really small. So small.
Not worth mentioning at all.
Lauren K. Carlson is the author of the chapbook Animals I Have Killed (Comstock Review’s Chapbook Prize 2018). Her work has recently appeared in Crab Creek Review, Salamander Magazine, Terrain, The Windhover and Waxwing. In 2022 she won the Levis Stipend from Friends of Writers for her manuscript in progress. Her writing has been supported by Tin House, Napa Valley Writers Conference and Sewanee Writers Conference. Lauren currently serves as editor for Tinderbox Poetry Journal and holds an MFA in poetry from the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers.