Here come the vultures. One,
then two, they rip the soft
parts of the carcass, the bison’s eyes and ass.
In the livid instant
before lightning struck, the animal
must have felt each follicle
lifted like grass in light wind.
The moments we see, or do not see.
Did you wake weeping? Yes, of course you did.
Death yeasts beneath the singular pelt.
The herd has moved on.
Indifferent sunlight slams
against the green, against us all.
Late-season flame breached the
firebreak, an ecstasy of oxygen.
Who will preserve this
precision of carbon, the way my boots
scuff the char? Some days
I think I look like my mother
in another life.
You might think the same
thing, another mother, another face
already fading from recall. Oh, is that
your foot on the trail, not mine?
Did you write these words while
I was away? I see now, how
I must have stopped moving—
Memory lies shallow as ash on the flinted soil.