Biological Control Task
Jim & I were taking lunch, sharing a crumpled
bag of goldfish below the dam
when we met Bill & Mike.
They rolled down a window, pulled up
next to our truck & strained
their necks—looking over me
—to introduce themselves to Jim.
They have the same face when I remember them.
Two guns propped between seats,
smell from the old engine.
Tarp over a load in the bed.
What’ve you got? Jim asked.
They stepped out, undid a rope.
Something soft hit
dirt on the opposite side of the truck.
You might not wanna look. Bill glanced at me,
slid the tarp off. The mound there
was grey & white at first I thought
At least eighty seagulls just dead,
ropes of blood at the chests. Shot so
their shoulders folded apart
like wet book covers.
To protect salmon.
Doesn’t make sense, but it’s not bad
getting paid to hunt.
Mike motioned to a trash bag on the pile.
Show them our girl.
Bill drew it down, ripped the knot, lifted
an adult heron with a hole blown
out the chest.
He held both webbed feet.
You could look through her body.
We found her in the road. Hit
by a hatchery cannon.
The bird seemed frozen,
wrongly intact—gold eyes cranked
open, neck coiled tight over her slaty back.
When I cried it made them comfortable like I could be
a daughter, wife or something they knew how to see.
Hands on my back.
What’s the matter, Mike asked. Didn’t you care
about the gulls or were they too ugly?
About the Author:
Taneum Bambrick is a recent graduate of the MFA program at the University of Arizona where she received the Academy of American Poets Prize. She recently interned at Copper Canyon Press, and currently serves as an Associate Editor for Narrative Magazine. Her work appears in The Nashville Review, New Delta Review, and Cloud Rodeo. She writes poems and essays on her experiences working around the reservoirs of two massive dams.
About All Accounts:
All Accounts and Mixture is an annual online feature celebrating the work of LGBTQ writers and artists. For this series, we seek work from authors who self-identify as “queer,” while acknowledging that this designation is subjective and highly personal. Our goal is to provide a forum for writers whose voices might be mis- or underrepresented by the literary mainstream.