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Bigfoot and the Placebo Effect

Matthew Olzmann

Fog in the trees, fog on the ground—
the hunters can’t see a thing. One growl
in the bush and a shot goes off
and—bang—Bigfoot is dead.
It’s an accident, of course,
but what are the hunters supposed to do?
They tie a rope around its ankle and haul it
back to camp where the beast is gutted
the way they’d gut any other large game—
say, an elk or a bear. There’s product to sell,
people are hungry and markets are waiting.
They label the meat, “Sasquatch steaks”
and it flies from coolers until, soon,
everyone wants more.
There is no more but the calls won’t stop:

Our customers, weep when they eat this.

My husband no longer looks angry when he touches me.

My kids have stopped fighting and their grades are on the rise.

So the hunters return to see what they can find.
Not much really. A couple of squirrels, the heel of a boot.
The junk ground up like beef. “Miracle Food.”
Everyone’s skin feels smoother, stomach pains
flutter away. Yes, the forest is dark. But
an ancient shadow stalks its interior. Yes,
the heavens are vast. Maybe something’s up there too.

Matthew Olzmann

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