Carcass of a Baby Goat || Cassondra Windwalker

A tangled heap of bones and hide
cast into a ditch, this discarded infant
bore only one blow before the end:

flies are eager for that old blood,
rooting into the already-softening flesh
to succor and sustain their own hordes,
but it is not the battered skull
that draws my eye; instead,

I cannot look away from the tender hooves
dangling useless from slender limbs –
the whole story of stunted promise
is told in those soft hooves

the remorseless answer of cruelty to life,
of that something black that crawls
and feeds on fear, delights in pain,
seeks the defenseless with hunger unshakable:

those hooves will find no purchase
on stone, will not leap fearless
from cliff to cloud to cliff again,
will not strike with vigor at foes,

will only lie unhardened, unquickened,
unfulfilled, and when the flies and beetles
have obscured all other sign,
bear final witness to the stolen life.


Cassondra Windwalker graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a BA of Letters. Her poetry, short stories, and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals and art books, and two of her novels were published in 2018. She currently writes full time from the southern Alaskan coast.

Originally published in the FALL 2018 edition of the Helix.


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