Tag Archives: earth

michael jennings | remains

My son guides me up the long hill squelching in run-off, along trails narrow as goat paths through the trees to show me the strewn bones of a deer nested in her shed shreds of fur, almost golden, where some wood spirit laid her to rest, and the coyotes and crows stripped her, leaving only a hoof and furred knuckle intact among a clutter of collapsed ribs. He shows me the clean white vertebrae, the pelvis with its odd eye hole, the knee still attached with some last rope of sinew.                This is his find, stumbled on as he tried his new spring legs in a downhill, helter-skelter run, and stopped, and stared, and in his eleven year old mind knew that this was the stuff of running undone, something the receding snow left for him personally, a sign of winter’s weight.                               We eye it together. We go down on our knees to gather pieces of the witchcraft mystery. The grey trees around us are also bones that click and chatter in the wet wind of almost spring. The brown limpid eyes are gone. The crumbling gnarl of spine, once nerved and tremulous, is now only a train wreck the grass will hide in a month’s time. We feel the doorway of earth opening. We feel the thinness of our skins and the prickling of short hairs rising. We know what’s at the bottom of things, how soon the mayflies will be dancing their measured reels of the evening.
jennings-photoMichael Jennings was born in the French Quarter of New Orleans and grew up in east Texas and the deserts of southwestern Iran before graduating from the University of Pennsylvania and the Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Syracuse University. He is the author of eight books of poems, most recently Silky Thefts from Orchises Press and Bone-Songs and Sanctuaries: New and Selected Poems from The Sheep Meadow Press. He is also an internationally recognized breeder and judge of Siberian Huskies and the author of three books on the breed.
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elizabeth raby | at the peak

Above smoldering caldera, from the rim of the volcano long gray slopes of cinders still hot and smoking, nothing alive but the fire inside. It’s hard to believe that this barren beginning will in time nourish so much green, so much life. The wildebeests graze on the richest grass on earth nourished by minerals forced out through fire. Our earth has done it again and again and so have we, I guess. Churned and ruined land at Verdun, bones of 600,000 bodies collected, piled in the grim hump of the ossuary, most of the bombs from that battlefield gathered too. Almost one hundred years later, although the ground is still prone to detonate from unexploded ordinance, trees have grown tall. How many times can we do it to each other and the earth? How much ruined land, corpse-littered, can regenerate? We wait for the super volcano, the asteroid, the force that will finish us. Perhaps if sentient life evolves again it will be better, finer, kinder, deserving this magnificent chance.
Elizabeth Raby is the author of 3 full-length poetry collections, This Woman (2012), Ink on Snow (2010), and The Year the Pears Bloomed Twice (2009), all published by Virtual Artists Collective and of four chapbooks. She worked as a poet-in-the-schools and taught poetry at Muhlenberg College.