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by Alexander Etheridge

White Elk

for my grandmother

Listener of windy creeks, she leads her young

through the wind-frosted and desolate steppes—

Love is a furnace in her hooves.

Half frozen, she’d lie flat

with hail piling up, so the strays could follow her pulse back.

Snowy elk, recalling again when

she heard a greenwood note

like little children sounding out names.

Now coming to her end, she thinks of her first calf

born on white and transparent leaves,

and with a cloudward

glance, sees an ancient promise begin to prove itself.


Alexander Etheridge has been developing his poems and translations since 1998. His poems have been featured in Wilderness House Literary Review, Cerasus Journal, The Cafe Review, The Madrigal, Abridged Magazine, Susurrus Magazine, The Journal, and others. He was the winner of the Struck Match Poetry Prize in 1999.


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