This morning the moon is a ghostbone in a pale blue sky. Our bodies huddle for warmth in cold seeps of winter.
They say our whole time on earth will darken and press into a thin flaky layer of stone. Even plastic
even bombs even music and cell phones old churches and skyscrapers and jets all our bodies and with our bodies
our ideas about the world as ours our ideas about whales and bees and redwoods and wolves and the bodies of whales, bees, redwoods, and wolves.
But today, in the wake, I watch each body pass on the street, I linger in each stranger’s eyes, silent,
listening beneath skin. On the rim of a canyon, coyotes let loose an unhinged chorus, lit
on the tip of my tongue. I know the fires have started. I know the bodies I will protect, a queer
spring in my step, a shimmer in my stride. My cry swells like a wave over lies, shivers down any spine,
dissolves into language of lichen and stone. I quiver all the way to gone— then bring it back as heat, urgent
as the purr of nerves quickening, sure as the lynx who stalks silence on a ridgeline, her lush spotted coat, her paws stitching the unbroken snow.
Anne Haven McDonnell’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in The Georgia Review, Orion, Tar River, and elsewhere. Anne lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with her partner and their sweet rescue dog. She teaches as an associate professor at the Institute of American Indian Arts.
Read poetry by Anne Haven McDonnell previously appearing in Terrain.org: four poems, two poems (winner, Terrain.org 5th Annual Contest in Poetry), and two poems.
Header photo of early morning snow by jill111, courtesy Pixabay. Photo of Anne Haven McDonnell courtesy Anne Have McDonnell.