Leveler Poetry Journal
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Coming To In a Grove of Antlers

My second language was born

of absence. Desire, and need. First fur,

then came gold. A let’s-pretend realism

flimmering in the mouth. You have left

so much here, with me, to weather.

I go down a little

slope to where the trapper cabin

leans, thewy, humbly knuckled to a weedy

gravel lot. There, there. In the back splitting

spruce I see a gray jay and think, Here

is where I’ll dig my den. I’ll rubble my shadow

with snow. Then, with its damper pedal down,

I’ll overhear some gentle dying—

The snow comes over you, you are overcome with snow.

I’ll let this small death in, place its trembling

repose in a bowl of crowberries, frozen

bits of meat stacked beside it. I’ll scrape it

with my knife.

Outside a winter bear has been

swatting at ravens, ratcheting wildly the space

between. Me, the window. I go over to have

a look. I walk toward the window, whitening.

Nolan Chessman