Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Elk

image by jason limberg
When elk look into their future,
they see their partners, the wolves.
Under gray cotton skies, they find the custodian lost in the woods,
pushing his bucket and mop with difficulty over roots and divots.
When elk speak, they can see their breath,
but the custodian hears nothing, like new dust arranging itself.

When wolves look into their future, 
they see a wounded custodian lagging behind.
The desperate, unsteady sway of keys on his hip
energizes their legs like an artist giddy over the right model.
On their tongues the wolves carry a palette
and with it they paint hunger, satisfied.

When custodians look into their future,
they see rocking chairs secreting themselves among the elk herds.
When wolves circle, the elk stamp their hooves nervously,
their eyes spy-hopping above the horizon like prayer flags.
When wolves kill, custodians return amazed to their mothers
as the huge heads of the elk swivel on the scent of evening.
______

for both Wordy Monday and Art Flash at Real Toads.


8 comments:

Mama Zen said...

their eyes spy-hopping above the horizon like prayer flags

Lordy, what an image!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

WOWWWWWWWWWWWW! Yes, especially the same line Kelli quoted. My goodness! Every line of this delighted me, with story, imagery, unexpectedness and beauty. SO glad you joined in, Shay. This poem made my day!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

p.s. I LOVE the song, and the singer's voice.........she sings in my favourite range......love the lyrics too. I also got a kick out of wolves not saying grace!

Fireblossom said...

First Aid Kit is two sisters, Sherry. I believe they are Swedish. I love their music. They made Emmylou Harris cry!

hedgewitch said...

The way you have juxtaposed the three images here is yet more of your brilliant work with metaphor. For me this is a poem of the spirit--of how it is prismed into its component parts, and becomes both deeper, sadder and stronger because of it--but also of the heart, which is always looking into the past and examining the artifacts which may determine its future. Deeply satisfying work, Shay.

purplepeninportland.com said...

“When wolves look into their future,
they see a wounded custodian lagging behind.
The desperate, unsteady sway of keys on his hip
energizes their legs like an artist giddy over the right model.
On their tongues the wolves carry a palette
and with it they paint hunger, satisfied.”

I love the language and imagery in this, Shay!

Carrie Van Horn said...

I love the reflection and different views we get from each life: elk, wolf, man. Your imagery is always inked starlight on a blank page! Another poetic masterpiece!!

Margaret said...

gray cotton skies (my favorite neutral fabric lately is "cloud" which is a gray cotton shade... The elk and wolves certainly depend upon the other - taking the old out so they don't suffer (honestly - I'm sure the kill isn't pleasant, but think about long, lingering starvation) ... they paint hunger, satisfied is certainly an amazing word phrase.