Today On The North American Review Blog Is Brandon Krieg With "Preserve" From Issue 296.4, Fall 2011

Tuesday’s Poem Was First Published In Issue 296.4, Fall 2011.

woman and birds



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
an echo

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

Brandon Krieg is the author of Invasives (New River Press), a finalist for the 2015 ASLE Book Award in Environmental Creative Writing. He lives in Columbia, MO, and teaches at Westminster College in Fulton.

Illustration by Matt Manley. Matt has been working as a freelance illustrator for over twenty years. His illustration is primarily figurative and symbolic with surrealist leanings, and past client work includes editorial, corporate, medical, book, and higher education. Though in the end his work is technically digital collage, the process integrates both traditional and digital media. Collage elements are original oil paintings and drawings, with occasional scanned found objects and photos added to the mix, all united in Photoshop.