At 20 years old, I lived in someone’s
upstairs bedroom, a blanket pinned
over the window to block out the
In the summertime, I could feel
the heat through my shoes as I
walked on black pavement to
Physics, afternoon lab in the room
with the tables, evening lecture in the
room with movie-theatre-type seats.
I had a pad of
graph paper that I would use to draw
lines and color in squares—I wanted
to be a doctor, the kind with sharp
tools for cutting,
the kind that wash their hands over
and over with soap and warm water.
In the upstairs room, I would practice
my skill with a needle
and thread—as a child, I helped my
father and brother field dress animals
in the corn, skins and blood still hot
against our hands.
Once, I watched as a knife slid into
the pelvis of a deer, watched as the knife
was drawn upward through the hide.
I nudged the pile of organs
with my foot, found a kidney, the liver.
It was then that I learned that each tree
in the woods grows with the nutrients of the
jawbones at its feet.
Kristin LaFollette is a writer, artist, and photographer and is the author of the chapbook, Body Parts (GFT Press, 2018). She is a professor at the University of Southern Indiana (Evansville, IN) and serves as the Art Editor at Mud Season Review. You can visit her on Twitter at @k_lafollette03 or on her website at kristinlafollette.com