Tuesday’s Poem Was First Published In Issue 296.4, Fall 2011.
A tall animal has printed the snow drift
on this pond’s roof of ice.
Incautious to the risk of falling through,
it has crossed. Emerson
assured a version of me more integral
awaits my determination to meet it
in woods. He uses me
to meet himself in woods in me.
On the shoreline, through shafts in the snow crust:
cleft hoofprints, frail blue.
Deer or devil this creature walks
ungingerly, drops scat freely, peels long strips
of bark from oldest trees, and the trace
its walking makes—doubling and redoubling,
impossible to follow—makes
its way its way.
I stand in dense saplings the hoof prints have split
to cross the pond. Will I find I wait for me
on that other side, or find Emerson only
diminished to this preserve?
Such a thin roof of ice upholds such wondering.
It shakes and crazes in the human thunders
of planes in descent to O’Hare.
I stand out under the evaporating banners
of other’s journeys—earth is rapidly less than actual
Trace I read in the snow you are wise.
I must be otherwise.
– Brandon Krieg