White-tail high in the air, innocent if even for a slight cough, you’ve found yourself bounding further north for a few winters now. It is natural to seek out the green as far as it is still living in the mild weather. You’d heard old stories about your cousin the moose, her leggy stature and regal nose, but the freeze of November had always separated your territories. But you see her now, weakly circling the same patch of ground as a hunter in high visibility steadies his scope. It’s not possible for you to know that the half-formed creature in your lungs has grown into the brain of your relation. Or that it has been decades of increasing temperatures that has brought you together in this moment. Not your fault when she drops and a shot of adrenaline makes you buck and turn tail back to the south.
Liz Howard’s debut collection Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent won the 2016 Griffin Poetry Prize. Letters in a Bruised Cosmos is forthcoming spring 2021.