Caribou memory



Under the the huge sky with the gusty wind as my companion

I came upon your remains.

The others far off picking berries had no idea of the few moments

we spent together.

I thought of the day you were left behind as the great herd

thundered away past the town.

Even your mother, caught up in the thud of hooves, the thundering drive

to cover miles and miles that day did not miss you or search

over the wide tundra, dotted here and there with poor trees.

You fell to your knees, weak or lame and as you fell with one eye you saw the great sky.

Silence soon came and then night and cold.

You slept a little, stiffening.  As the moon set you saw the stars dim and fading.

The sun rose and with it a little pale comfort.  How many breaths came that day.

Only breaths stirring a little the tiny leaves of plants low to the ground.

You breathed out your spirit onto the tundra and a gust of wind welcomed you into


A few years later I came upon your skull,  the faint blush of blood still in your antlers

your jaw sea green, a skim of moss shadowing the bone.

Alone, alone in the wind, under the great sky, I bent to take you, take you home.

In truth this was your home, but I took you still

as a trophy to loneliness.


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