The Afterlife of Roadkill

See the brown mutt bleed through
its garland of burrs, a torn
possum drooling dried streaks
of foam, lice-flecked raccoons

on the yellow line, split wide.
See how wholly they open to us
in death, to the moon, to the red elm
scabbed with mites. They open

to riverbeds and the song
of the wren, to flowering plums
and the barbed wire fence. Over
and over they open to carrion

birds catching scent, beginning
to rise. Even their skulls,
picked clean, look upwards, knowing
nothing of their missing eyes.

Bruce Snider is the author of two poetry collections, Paradise, Indiana, winner of the 2011 Lena-Miles Wever Todd Poetry Prize, and The Year We Studied Women, winner of the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry. His poems and non-fiction have appeared in the American Poetry Review, Southern Review, Ploughshares, Gettysburg Review and Ninth Letter, among other journals. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow, he has been writer-in-residence at the James Merrill House in Stonington, CT as well as at the Amy Clampitt House in Lenox, MA. He currently lives in San Francisco and teaches at Stanford University.