Elk

That it was — fleshwarm, earthen, a marvelous
breathing thing. And the glance, a lastingness from cornea,
milky, asking sky. And if you had seen the great beast

fall — unsure, to its knees, then struggle the leaden head —
gaiting a few yards, before collapsing, antlers first, like a black oak’s
crown, top-heavy into earth, you might worship the stubborn

gravity of land, and the garden, sudden its insides: Harvest
of soft, wet rocks, melons, — or is it a cave where the menses
of a secret ocean have dried? — Blood from the mouth. Tongue,

beard-black, says death. — And teeth, yellow seeds, from which all
these boulders grew? And here’s the intestine’s white chain mottled
brown, its lumen narrowing down like a perfect sentence

pronounced by God. And here’s the great comma of each lung,
bellows undone. And here’s the slug, a period in the heart’s
balloon. And now this sunrise of flora and fauna

laid out, bloody map of the thing apart, and you
the hunter, instructionless, emptied of passion, crossing
green rivers, climbing red cliffs of meat, pulling off

the hide, walking out into another life, down the femur
to knuckly knee, you fall on the ground to worship
the bluestone and glass of each hoof, spoor lost

among root-sort. And now, shearing the meat from bone,
pulling the backstraps from spine, separating the loin,
hacking the fat from hide, whittling the pink from ribs, all

thirteen pair sculpting the air, jailing the light. — Spirit out,
spirit out. The head in a tree is a tree gazing toward
the wind-singing cage, toward the invisible bird of the heart.

—Mark Irwin

❧❧❧❧❧

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Published in: on January 24, 2010 at 1:33 PM  Leave a Comment  
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