The barn doesn't love you, though over and over you enter
its wide mouth like Jonah passing back and forth through the fish.
Even with four horses and a loft full of crows, the barn is of no mind.
The smoke above the barn is just the sky learning
to say barn. Say it. Say the flame inside is just the barn pretending
to be a man. The next time you put faith in anything remember when
the wind blows, the barn sings until it runs out of breath.
"Slaughter and Ritual Knife"
The slaughter slides into the knife
because it doesn't have anything else
to lean on.
The difference between sacrifice
and soldier is one
gets to learn a new language—
one has a language for slaughter and it sounds
Your coat was too soft
I learned to look into the wound:
how the window to holiness
tears itself wider and we reach
saying here, take our hooves.
C.T. Salazar is the editor-in-chief of Dirty Paws Poetry Review. He's the 2017 AWP Intro Journals poetry winner. His poetry appears or is forthcoming in The Tampa Review, The Harpoon Review, FLARE: the Flagler Review, The Broke Bohemian, and elsewhere. He's an MFA candidate and children's librarian.