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.