University of Southern Indiana

Actual Animals

Rebecca Hazelton

It’s not that the antlers pain, exactly,
                        budding from her forehead,
           but they do in the first few weeks
                                     feel raw,
                       and her gait
                                                changes to accommodate
            the weight of them,
                         so that she feels as if her head
                                       is still turning after
                         it stops,
                                        and there are doorways
                          to consider,
                                      and other people’s eyes,
              so that after a while
                                        she stops coming inside,
                            and watches the house
               from the edge of the woods,
                                         thinking: those were my parents,
                           but now they are just people,
                thinking once I slept there, and not
                                        in a swirl of grass.
                She remembers the last
                                         boy she kissed longest
                  of all, but even that
                             goes with time
                                         as her flank browns and dapples
                              and she grows elegant, tentative,
                                          and dumb.


Rebecca Hazelton attended The University of Notre Dame for her MFA in poetry and completed her PhD at Florida State University. She was awarded a fellowship year as the Jay C. and Ruth Hall Poetry Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Creative Writing Institute , and also received a fellowship from Vermont Studio Center. Her poetry has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Salt Hill, Puerto del Sol, American Book Review, and  Pleiades, and D.A. Powell chose “Book of Janus” for inclusion in Best New Poets 2011. Hazelton teaches creative writing at Beloit College.


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