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Chad Frame

Chupacabra Goes for a Ride in the Car III

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The engine dies with a plosive thump, its
horses all run ragged and its fires out.
The tremble starts in his flanks, moves forward,
plucking the strings of him one at a time.

He has smelled something ahead on the road—
a dead bird, tire tread splitting its two halves,
its bright riot of plumage
a haberdasher’s wet dream.
It is mostly blood, though, and some peacock
like a gorefest broadcast on NBC.

A child, backseat in traffic, draws the scene,
gleefully dumps his whole box of crayons.
He shades a long red smear on black, scribbles
a snarl of rainbow and grey-furred monster.

A tube-armed man, eighteen feet tall, festooned
in his own bright colors, gambols and waves,
entreating—Buy a fully-loaded Ford.
Everything we do is driven by you.

Chupacabra Goes for a Ride in the Car VI

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I am essentially driving a bomb—
its fuse, his patience with being confined.
Fat snowflakes hang in the night, reluctant
to fall, the squeak of the wipers clearing
those that do, the musk of him, the old blood
in the air, crusting the wheel. Mine or his.

Chupito stands, his flanks twitching, eager
to be free. I-80 and its solemn
lines of trees guarding nothing is all cars
so slow that “driving” is not accurate
to describe them. We’re drifting together.

A Range Rover’s tiny screen infotains
kids with princess songs about letting go—
the snow glows white on the mountain tonight
We fishtail as traffic spasms to life,
all their tires sliding faster over ice
as if they can’t hold it back anymore.

The rumbling engine of need quickens
the pulse of death, tongue lolling on the dash—
A Chupacabra can smell fear ten cars
ahead. He says to himself, Chupito,
you will burst through the windshield like a whale
breaching the stone-still ocean
. The bumpers
on the cars ahead speak to him, spur him

Trump: Make America Great Again.
My Kid Can Beat Up Your Honor Student.
Can’t Sleep. El Chupacabra Will Eat Me.

A cartoon devil, grinning impishly
laughs at the engine roaring and the fuse
sputters down to the end—he is ready
and there will be no rest at this stop, not
for me, for him, for anything wicked.

Putting Chupacabra Down Behind the Old Tool Shed

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All I can bear to look at—
the moon’s old acne-scarred cheek,
the brown scuff along the side
where the wheelbarrow clipped it,
and the offending barrow
overturned nearby, wheels dry-
rotted and red rust flecks all
along the underbelly,

the blue plastic kiddy pool
on its side collecting black
stagnant water and dead leaves,
the dark, spidery ley lines
in my fingers, white knuckles
gripping the hatchet handle.

He has realized this is it
for one of us, settling down
on his muscled haunches, back
spines bristling for a good fight;
he outraces the shiver
down my neck and he’s on me,
growling and snapping—my hand
comes down quick, again, splitting
a stubborn log, or cracking

a walnut. Out of the dark
in the cleave of his skull, tears
fall hot on my cheeks, tunnel
through the smeared grime, the night air
so still I can hear each drop
tap on the thankful, parched soil.

Chupacabra Goes for a Ride in the Car IX

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The depression in the passenger seat—
a tuft of shed fur, a sharp spine jutting
in the white leather like a switchblade stuck
in a barroom table. I see a dark,
oblong kidney stain that is either blood
or coffee, which no amount of scrubbing
will exorcise.

Ahead, a bunny’s head—
the light-hole in the sun’s blinding rebound
off the metal mudflaps of a semi,
a playful entreaty of lust for us
and my eyes scrunch shut, the car still gunning
in the truck’s wake.

    My fingers graze my arm,
trace the gnarled patches where your teeth have been.
The pain has barely scabbed over, hardened
blood tuile baked onto me, my dirty nail
digging under its latticed edge to peel
it slowly back, the rawness underneath
Maraschino red. Just as you left it.

In Chupacabra’s Absence

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A plains state schoolboy’s pencil snaps shading
the yawning rictus of a grey dog’s mouth.

A news anchor reads the prompter: boy found
vivisected, parts left in three dumpsters

no amount of digital sorcery
or globs of Vaseline smeared on the lens
can make this look better.

Clouds cauliflower
into tumorous blackness, drops pit-pat
the hood of an empty car.

A woman
stirs deep in silk sheets, her kernel of need
and promise safe for another night.

told you once—the world would be better off
without you hunting in it, hunting it.

Haunting it. When you feel a sudden breeze,
it is the shift in the air as all goats
the world over know you are back

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