Bethany Bowman (bio)

Always, if nothing more, your flexible lips.
In the summer, trimming leaves, stripping twigs.

Cutting bark from the curly birch. Sucking on cloudberry.
Gnawing blood red currants; you’re a woodland browser.

You eat all night. You have to. Absently and fully aware.
Foraging in open spaces, set to run at the smallest sound.

You know winter is coming and because of
your cloven hooves, long legs, you will not be able to sleep.

O (but if you are alive) you will be used: bones and sinews,
meat and hide. Each part sustenance, element, life.

Shelter from the cold, for we who are vulnerable as
freight trains, automobiles.

At dawn, you’ll swim underwater. Submerge your head,
cover your sharper points. And it’s easy to pretend

dreaming these dives, tangled in lilies, that you are sterile,
shy, harmless in the holiest sense.

Your crown is released and it’s dusk. Mice chew the velvet—
dogs beneath the table, hoping for that

blessed crumb there’s no substitute for;
nothing else comes close.

Then suddenly, predictably, the wake-up call.
The changing of leaves, seasonal rut.

Let there be no mistake, solitary friend,
Beginning and the End, you are a bull moose in fall.

(I no longer wonder your face is long,
dewlap hangs free like an only son.)

Copyright © 2019 | Valparaiso University | Privacy Policy