say, a thorn in the side of the letter r, or the lumbering

way an unpracticed language sounds as it stumbles

past fat clumsy lips. there is an element of reckless

unfocus in the way new words move: a blank

dumbness, like the white noise on the radio from a

station that faded miles ago but


remains unchanged. to the moose on the edge of a road

somewhere: might I have antlers too? if I did I would

spear a thorn or þrjú. every eth would roll easy off my

tongue. it would not taste thick with spit and old

smoke and waking up. somebody says not this lisp of

dream again. not an ash-cloud of sky not a blurry

patch of painted plaster


to peel from the walls, from the bone—but what’s it

mean to strike a beast with a car, to see the metal and

flesh collide into some new-age hybrid monster,

what’s it mean when for a moment you wish it would

absorb the impact seek revenge and break down the

walls of the house up the road where your parents

lived or live or sit watching the clock and waiting for

you, and what might you do if it did? if it unstuck all

these thorns from your chipped teeth and took the

words you can’t shape and tore them into pieces, little

strips of confetti


and unkempt hate? the work of language is how it lies

in translation. what this lacks is þyðir, or perhaps a

sense of purpose. the sad truth is the moose lived and

you lived and you made it to the house and nobody

cared, and nothing changed. and nothing ended. but all

poems are about death, somebody said. the struck

moose with the graveled fur, maybe, or the flies that

flocked to the swash of skin and matted hair left

smeared across the asphalt—



Katie Prince received her MFA from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She was a finalist in the 2016 Gigantic Sequins and annual poetry contests, and in the spring of 2017 she will be serving as artist-in-residence at Klaustrid, in Fljótsdalsvegur, Iceland. Her poems have been published in The Boiler, Smoking Glue Gun, the Portland Review, and Fugue, among others.