In the Borderlands

by Kateri Kosek

Today on the back-roads, where Connecticut
and Massachusetts bleed together unnoticed—
the large, gangly silhouettes of two llamas
weaving across the road ahead of me, not
where they are supposed to be, where I always
pass them, stoic and shaggy amid a spread
of crumbling outbuildings.

A young woman has stopped.
She gets out of the car and I stop too,
and more llamas rush out from the broken gate,
ears erect like horns on their pert pedestal heads.

I wonder for a moment, could they hurt us?
These animals we usually see standing still,
chewing dumbly while we gawk?
We forget their long legs, forget
they can move.

But they head for the field
and there’s something exhilarating
about their sudden temporary glory,
the larger world asserting itself
in the form of llamas on the loose, llamas
spreading through a whitened February field
and no one around who can stop them.
I should mention, I had been crying.

Starting for the door of the farmhouse,
I hear someone coming out.
Fucking cocksuckers, he drawls, this older man
we can’t see, as if the llamas plotted this breakout
on a regular basis. Jesus Christ Almighty—
adding a new dimension to my image of the cluttered
farmyard, hushed and exotic, too much to take in
though I always slow down, riveted
as I am now, but I drive away
and leave him to it, lifted.


Kateri Kosek is a poet and essayist whose work has appeared in such journals as Orion, Catamaran, Terrain, and Northern Woodlands magazine. She has recently won contests at Creative Nonfiction and Briar Cliff Review. She teaches college English and mentors in the MFA program at Western CT State University, where she received an MFA. Kateri has been a resident at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska. She lives in western Massachusetts.

Illustration by Courtney Bennett

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