Thom Caraway

The Leper Attends the Idaho State Roadkill Fur Auction


Like mine, their removal
is detachment from
the body, ruined
but not too ruined.

I think about the men
who hustle the long roadwork
of Idaho, who have learned
the language of blood,
smeared down fifty yards
of highway—the parallel skid tracks
of the locked-up vehicle,
a body inside, a body outside—
those men whose job it is
to quantify the dead.

Love is not
the coexistence
of two alonenesses.

Like the roadkilled raccoons,
porcupines, deer, skunk,
the occasional bear, the coyote,
house cat, lost dog—
like all the other beloveds
lost on the back roads
of this terrible wilderness,
and like the men who
collect, strip, and scrape
the pelts, I would also
remove my skin if it meant
my permutation into the world.


“The Leper Attends the Idaho State Roadkill Fur Auction” is reprinted from Ruminate.


There was a time in his life when Thom Caraway wanted to be a truck driver. He still occasionally regrets his decision not to pursue that path, a regret that was inadvertently reinforced by his son, Sam, who recently said, “Bus drivers have the coolest jobs. Why aren’t you a bus driver?” Thom lives in Spokane, and does a variety of things that, to a six-year-old, are not as cool as driving a bus. (Though one might be: Thom has just been named Spokane’s inaugural Poet Laureate.)


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