The Shapeshifter by Selina Foster

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy


She became the deer lying on the side of the highway, limp hooves jutting out on dislocated legs

        and then she shapeshifted.

She became the car driving away, broken antlers reflected in the rear view mirror like a window

        and then she shapeshifted.

She became what has always been fragile but never broken

        and then she shapeshifted.

She became her daughter who has never been fragile but always broken

        and then she shapeshifted.

She became the windows which are the walls and tried not to see the reflection of the deer’s body in the glass

        and then she shapeshifted.

She became the walls which are the windows and tried not to shatter the house when the rock came

        and then she shapeshifted.

She became the rock as she smashed through the window without breaking the glass

        and then she shapeshifted.

She became the armchair cradling the rock and the glass shards as she once cradled her daughter

        and then she shapeshifted.

She became the bedroom window in the house where the walls were still walls and watched her daughter writing some sort of letter

        and then she shapeshifted.

She became the teakettle humming a lonely song while no one comes to turn off the stove
    
        and then she shapeshifted

She became the pill bottle that lay empty in the trashcan of her daughter’s bedroom

        and then she shapeshifted.

She became the garbage man who was the only one who saw the pill bottle

        and then she shapeshifted.

She became the EMT touching her daughter’s cracked ribs after the car crash wondering why broken felt so natural in this body

        and then she shapeshifted.

She became herself again, if only for a moment, driving that truck down the highway as the deer stepped into the road

        and then she shapeshifted.

She became the deer the moment before the headlights snapped her ribs like carrots

        and then she shapeshifted.

She became the highway patrol man lifting the deer from the asphalt and carrying it out of sight

        and then she shapeshifted.

She became her daughter again, and felt the discomfort in her body: the weight of her chest like headlights smeared with the deer’s hide, the antlers trying to burst from her head, and for a moment, she understood.

         And then she shapeshifted.


Photo of Selina Foster

Photo of Selina Foster

Colorado born and raised, Selina Foster is an outdoor enthusiast and aspiring writer currently studying math, computer science, and outdoor education in Salt Lake City, Utah. They were poetry editor of the 2015 publication of Westminster College's literary magazine, ellipsis... literature and art, which facilitated learning about a variety of journals, including HEArt Online. By pursuing a range of diverse interests both in and outside of school, Selina has created a unique voice, blending mathematics, wilderness and poetry.