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Photo by MELINDA ORR on Unsplash

The bison is back in my mirror,
white hairs tangling black eyes, a scar on

lip and leg; an alertness earned with age,
but a wide-eyed waiting that evolved from

experiences left in the trampled
earth. He still travels in a herd, but it’s

smaller these days, hunted to extinction
by crisscross roads that bring new dynasties

of wolves, and windmills, and barbed wire fences
to the slanted open plains. Another

exhale in the soft cold morning; blurring
vision and warming the nose, as horns drop

and a slow walk down the path continues —
for the remaining day and into night.

© Trapper Markelz 2020

If you enjoyed this poem, please consider reading:

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Photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash

No one is asking you to run into the street
with a pot left boiling on your stove.
All that is asked of you is to know
there are people who learned to ride bikes

like you did, with a mother or father’s hand
holding the seat, refusing to let go until
the last moment. They sat in other classrooms
learning about Manifest Destiny

like you did, and how a bill becomes a law
like you did, and memorizing math facts
after Sunday school. Like you did.
But they can’t trace their ancestry back

to an English lord or Irish farmer.
There are no papers at Ellis island.
No one is asking you to charge
the wall with roses. …

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Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

The space between is filled with big things.
Ancient and empty bowls carved
with unlimited edges, honed in a furnace
that burned out long before we were born.

While we live we circle, grabbing the tail
of the elephant in front; maybe it’s a snake,
or a whip, or a rope that keeps us all
from falling off the mountain as long as

one person remains with pen and mind;
writing the detailed story until some giant
with an iron heart shatters the sky; a silent
crack, a brief blink, and a long dusty exhale.

© Trapper Markelz 2020

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Trapper Markelz

Husband. Father of four. Cyclist. Musician. Poet. Sci-fi enthusiast. Writes from Boston, MA.

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