Issue > Poetry
Dave Nielsen

Dave Nielsen

Dave Nielsen recently graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a PhD in English. He received a master's degree from Brigham Young University and a bachelor's from Westminster College in Salt Lake City. His poems have recently appeared in Hayden's Ferry Review, RHINO, The Southern Review and elsewhere.

Year of the Horse

One horse at night
in a field isn't entirely invisible—
the outline of its neck.
And if it is winter

you can also make out its breath
silvery dark
in the air above its nose.
And if you stay,

you will probably notice
the stars. Maybe Orion.
Up close you can hear him breathing,
the sound of a hoof

stamping the snowy ground.  
Listen carefully:
this is your last
and best chance for everything.

Killing the Turkey

Once, or maybe twice, before heading home for supper
I watched my uncle pull a healthy tom
from one of the pens, grab it
by its neck and swing it—up-and-over,
a little pop. Then he laid the turkey chest-up,

with the turkey's head loose and flopped to one side,
on the Chevy's tail gate, like on an operating table.
When you cut a turkey in a straight line down its chest,
the skin doesn't bleed and the meat rises
like bread, hot against your fingers. My uncle knew

exactly where to go with the knife,
the whole breasts, without even a drop of blood.
And the turkey's carcass, only a few minutes dead,
lying there on the open tail gate,
like a question half answered, half ignored.

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