Poetry by Becca Rae Rose
Drive safe watch for deer texts my mother
every time I key ignition or stomp to pedal.
This is about a place: this is what a mother says
when the running joke is if you haven’t hit a deer yet.
Where the boys count their truck-dead
doe on their fingers, prouder than the bucks
they shoot sharp and skin clean
for wintermeat. Count their dead
girls on their fingers, call it rape
when they lose a football game.
Where the sagebrush burns bigger
every summer—the butt of a cig or firecracker
popped off to celebrate another year
of murder and barbecues.
Where a road cuts through
a mountain womb and vanilla veins
cut up the pines. Where I drive
with my eyes closed, where I’d rather be a dead
deer than a dead girl, but really I’m the pinecone
in a blaze, blaring blind down a highway,
might curl metal and meat around
that pole, the engine blows, the leather peels
and I am aflame while the forest follows.
Resin melts; triggered. We are all heat-dependent here.
Open, seed, scatter.
About the writer
Becca Rae Rose is a poet and cross-genre writer from Sisters, Oregon, a place whose many mountain roads and myriad animal bodies greatly inform her work, most of which has been written while driving Highway 20—poems shook loose by the sight of roadkill or the swerve of the car to avoid tumbleweeds. On this hometown road she discovers a microcosm of the greater systems that affect her own body, unraveling how gender, flesh and the contemporary political moment knot together. She is an Assistant Poetry Editor for Narrative Magazine and is currently pursuing her MFA in Cross-Genre Writing at University of California San Diego