It was snowing in Chicago when the plane landed,
must have been the time taken for the father
to walk two toddlers across a terminal
the same hour bitter-cold in Idaho,
and a pack of dogs in the sheepfold
It was intestines ballooning over wool, it was red on black gums
It was the ewe bleating against the cinderblock wall while the dogs tore while the mother stood for the tender thing
when she made for the door and for the propped gun
it was the crowd of child-voices raised while she ran,
it was fists & stones on the truck-bed
I was a child: dropped toddlers into chairs and screamed.
I was a child: put cookies in their pockets, held, mothered, denied myself.
It was the grandparents who took them without speaking;
It was the father watching, boarding the next flight without them;
It was the mother’s walk with the gun, the flashlight & field lain by bodies.
Three thousand miles separating shots in the dark.
Cassandra Farrin is a poet, writer, and nonfiction editor from Idaho. A US-UK Fulbright Scholar, she has an M.A. in Religious Studies from Lancaster University in England. Her poem “On the Origin of the World” is forthcoming in Gender Violence, Rape Culture, and Religion (Palgrave MacMillan).