The Taiga

The Taiga


Cold crown of the world. Boreas exhales

the breath that’s preserved him all these years,

kept the wolverine alive, and the spruce-blue stars

keen as crystals of virgin ice

clipping the pines on their northern slopes.

Most coverage here is evergreen.

It grows in the short day painfully slow,

putting down rings, and whatever waxed needles

do pitter to the ground

lie there still as pickup sticks in the reckoning 

between two goes, as if the soft lynx 

left these miles on long exposure. Bison graze,

moss-obsessed. Fresh snow settling confuses them

with abandoned dens and boulders.

A she-bear, snug in the bed of her own fur,

lies under stone, four pink cubs

assuming their forms faster in her womb 

than the carcasses that nourished them can decompose.

She dreams at double speed

of balsam wood, hot piss and foreign males,

the planet turning imperceptibly

underneath her shoulder. Honey congeals

in hives suspended from conifer boughs. The yellow

eyes of a Tengmalm’s owl

click in the dark like camera shutters.

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