I AM AT A PAIN TO REPRESENT THE FOLLOWING ARRAY
After the house burned in ’82 I know the dog Blackie whined
and pawed the hot ash till they had to put her away.
On the ranch put down or away was another way to say
shot. As a teen I put away a prairie dog. I’d been convinced
they were vermin whose holes could take down a cow
worth a few thousand dollars. Maybe that was true.
In any case, I held and fired the .22. You could say, too,
that the boy Daniel who was not my cousin put away
my Uncle Duane. You might call him my uncle’s foster son.
He was seventeen when he did it, so you might not call
him a boy. In the end the courts did not. I’ve tried
but there is no other way to say: One day
he waited at the window of the farmhouse they shared
and aimed and put him away. I think of them often.
KELSI VANADA is the translator of The Eligible Age by Berta García Faet (Song Bridge Press). She holds MFAs in Poetry and Literary Translation from the University of Iowa. Her poems and translations appear in Anomaly, Court Green, and The Literary Review. She is the Program Manager of the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA).