Monday, 11 of December of 2017

Tag » Flash

Lone Cone – Seeing Bear


bear is the forest
Walking Petersburg Creek, the Tlingit’s Seetkab Heenuk’w,
across the Wrangel Narrows from the mud-flat sloughs of

Mitkof Island, hiking a seldom-used wilderness trail
I pass the last cabin, last sign, last mark on the map

and come upon brown steaming mounds of berry scat,
piles of gutted humpies, half-chewed, fins still twitching.

Through skunk cabbage rank with growth and devil’s club
waiting in ambush, its honed thorns prickly with menace,

I skirt innocent gooseberries, expecting the worst,
prepared around each bend for some dark hulk swatting fish

and the ultimate terror of Ursus arctos horribilis.
Thick groves of old growth soak up light and squeeze out

shapes, the stab of strange limbs, flicker of breeze.
No quick exit out this maze of Sitka Spruce

tangled arctic bog, muskeg carnivorous with quivering
insects caught in the sundew’s last embrace.

A hundred humped shadows leap out at me from the brush,
startled, hungry, rearing up on hind legs, head-high

and higher, murder growling in their fierce gaze.
So near I can smell their panic wild as fish breath.

Lost in this still untamed Alaskan bush where two-leggeds
anima-bearhave no more weight than the meat they carry on their bones,

puffing a tin whistle like a webelo,
clapping hands, singing out of dread not joy,

I keep seeing the hundred hids of Death,
its snout hairy, fangs bristling, about to attack.

Bruin gone berserk and bounding towards me.
Slashed muscle, the snapped arm ripped from its socket.

Claws long as Bowie knives. Eyes like smoking volcanoes.
To run or play dead? Its bulk crushing me into the earth.

Seeing hot flash my whole life engraved on a salmonberry
ground to pulp in the molars of a steel-trap jaw.

I meet no one walking that trail, neither grizzly nor rabbit,
not even a deer munching lichen.

The air is crisp, clouds huddled against nameless peaks.
Perhaps for the first time in my life

I am alone with the dark shape of

Lone Cone Free Poem
May-June 1998 Earth First!

Maya Khosla – Yielding to the Call

Maya Khosla“Maya Khosla was raised in India, England, Algeria, Burma, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. Those cultures as well as her background in biology strongly shaped her writing.

Her first full-length poetry manuscript Keel Bone won the 2004 Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize.

While working for the National Park Service, she completed Web of Water, a creative nonfiction manuscript which was accepted for publication by the Golden Gate National Park Association Press in 1997. Poetry remains her favorite genre.

She has been published in Americas Review, Poetry Flash and Seneca Review and was an artist-in-residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts in 1998.” From: Indivisible: A Contemporary Anthology of South Asian American Poetry

In answer to falling light, to genetic unity,
a current soars up, west: monarch butterflies
by the thousand. Not waiting to be shown
the way back. And this isn’t “the way back.”

This shimmering across half a continent’s
air thermals, this gold distance we call migration—
a misnomer—it was not they who ventured
east into the updraft seasons ago, but great-

grandparents. Who are calling to them now
of course. Beckoning day and night
from the sun’s intensity on river and schist,
from the fission-eyes of stellar matter

arranged like a cambered draw in the dark.
And the monarchs yield to the call.
Charged with hybrids of red and gold
their wings stay blurred with a flight

that is so much about turbulence and fury,
about mind over wind-cloud,
that it is less butterflies in flight
than the hurrying of a black-veined river,

less a wing-beaten conglomeration
of airborne probabilities than electric gale,
less mass migration than a cappella
more ancient than decision itself.

First printed in POEM Magazine
–Maya Khosla

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