Noah J. Guthrie
Hiking down through snaking vapor,
Down the pine wood's frost-bleached hill.
Behind me, the cabin's hearth fire
Pulses hot from scarlet sills,
Vomits tar up from its chimney
Over the hut of axe-hewn tree.
Boot treads press on petrous log.
I balance, heel past heel across
The slithering stream, its fog
Like white ichor, its scales of frost
Splitting, steaming up with smoke,
Where phantoms twist in marbled cloak.
Breath ghosting through my scarf, I spot
A white corkscrew, a tumor
Of plastic bags, enwrapped in river
Linens. I step down, the icy moss
Crackling, but as I reach out
To pull the tumor free, I recognize--a doe's snout.
She lies, scoured white by boreal
Stream, her legs leeched, elastic, sucked
Hollow, permeated by oracle
Creek. It flows from tail to snout,
Rippling tongue to prophesy.
As the vapor rises, I
Breathe it in, spirit snaking through
Throat and lung, its wine-dark venom
Scorching, ouroboros nesting anew,
Whorling with primeval wisdom.
My throat roils with the doe's drowned song
As I turn, trek uphill to the deadwood lodge.
Spring/Summer, 2020 Issue