Just kids in summer heat
climbing the fence into the Burns stockyard
near the CPR tracks
before the security guard chased us.
Just kids wanting to get close to the bull
our imaginations kicking up blood and sand
the ancient thrill of death delivered
by a graceful hand, a death blow
in the classic style we prairie kids
knew nothing about
although there were a few boys
who egged us on, whose fathers
remembered roping and branding
whose fathers’ sweat stained hats
hung behind the storm porch door
and even though these men lived in the city
delivering ice or stirring mash at the brewery
and only spoke when drinking was heavy
their sons picked up the thrill of the corral
the thrill of rituals that required
the death of an animal to give us immortality
and we girls scaled the fence into the world of men
behind the boy waving a small red rag

~ Leanne McIntosh

Leanne McIntosh is a Nanaimo, BC poet with two books of poetry published by Oolichan Books. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and chapbooks. She is currently working on a third manuscript titled, The Habit of Being.

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