All the elk are broken. Bulls lug cast-iron antlers. Fur like rusted
wire. No longer do they skulk in the blue-green brushstrokes of
conifer pockets. Colorado spruce and yew. Juniper, fir. Eastern
hemlock. American larch. Names of places and points of a compass:
colorless. Elk are lost out in the gorges and valleys. Barren and
gaping, draped in grey sky. Greying sky full of grackles. Dried seeds
strewn dust-like over earth. Drab earth tones and black. Wrecked
crossroads and corroded railroads. Rust-orange creek rushes from the
ruined mine. Oxidized implements tucked in tufts of switchgrass and
roadside scrub. Townspeople find dead elk there without evidence: no
blood. No fruit from yew. Never given red, so it cannot exist here.
Young boys band together, heave elk bodies to the creek, toss them in
at the spot. Damming up undrinkable flows. Rust to rust.