For the Bear
by Meghan Purvis
When they decided to kill the priest it was winter
and they wanted it slow. They led him out barefoot
to a steaming pot, and had us each take turns
dipping an enormous ladle, black from other hands.
The priest’s skin went soft white like wax, freezing
too fast for blisters. It was like making candles,
like what my mother told me of butter:
how one must wash it clean, must cup it until the water clears.