He Was Bit in Jewett City


By Quinn Elise Rennerfeldt

Though really, bites were
imperceptible in those days,

the size of a butterfly tooth,
all the pierce and heft

of a finely sanded
eyelash. His neck was clean

as could be in a colonial
winter town but the townsfolk

would have neglected to check.
Proof was in a lung,

waxy and unwell, starving
the bones and suet

off his body. Or the reedy
breath made slightly better

by the high mountain air.
Or it could have been in

the loss of mother and sister
and sister before him, consumed

by the nameless hand
of a clutching disease

associated with little more
than the uneasy dread that

you are next, life has it out
for you, and no mouthful

of ash, no bone-burning can reverse
the body's swell and rise

towards a silently staged death,
the last licks of consumption.


Quinn Rennerfeldt earned her degree at the University of Colorado at Boulder and currently lives in Denver with her daughter, husband, and ornery cat. She was most recently published in Wazee Journal, Sassafras, and Slipstream, and just ended her tenure as poetry co-editor for the now retired BloodLotus Journal.