SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

When There Were Highways,

this is what we saw: deer

with shucked hides, exposing the marimba of ribs


and red muscle—others, burned black


from rubber’s horrible offices or so scattershot

with flies as to be costumed in moveable scruff. 


There are the bloated boats and ripped-aways. 


Bird tatter, chipmunks made into flapjacks among

curls of tire, black spinnerets. 


When they came upon the dead deer in the woods,


she had to press one hand into another, as if in prayer,

stayed against the lifting the tongue


back into the cave of its mouth,


keep her from plucking the hungry burrs. 

He remembers too, the startle of sudden stopping—


that New Year’s when the shock of deer

scattered like pool balls in the crust of snow.

Molly Sutton Kiefer is the author of the full-length lyric essay, Nestuary (Ricochet Editions). She has published three poetry chapbooks, and has work in Orion, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Passages North, The Rumpus, Tupelo Quarterly, Fiddlehead Review, Ecotone, South Dakota Review, and The Collagist, among others. She is publisher at Tinderbox Editions and founder of Tinderbox Poetry Journal. She lives in with her family in Minnesota where she teaches.


The Louisiana Compulsory Education Act of 1916