My middle girl found it long after the crows
            had picked away the eyes, the gums,
            the supple stretch of tongue,

after the palate
and the fused cranial plates
            had been licked clean by ants
            and left half-hidden

under the leaf-fall our spaniel
            was snuffling through in a thicket
            near the high-tension lines.

My girl ran it home before
            her big brother and his friends
            could twist it away,

shut herself in her room,
            where she posed it on a silvery tray
before the oval mirror
            of her white plastic vanity

next to her dried tubes
            of playhouse makeup
            and last birthday crown.

Her button-eyed bears
           and limp-legged cats stared
           from the foot of her bed

while the spaniel quivered,
            his soft black muzzle
sniffed the air, and he yipped
            a shrill little want-song
            to the girl

while the locked-out boys
            bounced their crazy dance
            outside her window,

laughing wildly,
            screaming for what they wanted,
            chanting her name.