For almost forty years I have been alive,
and the magnitude of my unknown grows
before me, its shape the shadow

of an occult creature occluded, eclipsed,
unmade by its elder. Certainty shows

itself little by little. It is something
I cannot recognize until it has dressed
in a faraway forest and passed close by

in its now-familiar costume. Even then,
twice as often it is another thing, horse

in a human’s fine charmeuse gown or golem
sewn of glassine envelopes still printed
with the names of herbs

they once contained. Of the strangers
who made poultices of powdered root

and masticated leaves, what can they know
of certainty, shambling shape stitched
with its own bone-thorn needle? Of available

materials it makes itself
into new animals, intruders to dreams

which speak as a symphony, wolfishly,
or like a dog

does after its years are nearly gone, rib-
cage showing its cradle’s shape. Still it claims
the dreamer’s voice for its own.


From Hunger Mountain Issue 22: Everyday Chimeras, which you can purchase here.

Image: Nowinski, Maggie. “(in) Habitat (Friend or Foe).” 2016. Photopolymer intaglio on Hahnemuhle copperplate,  16” x 20.”