startled shut

This poem won First place in 2-Day Poem Contest 2019

you draw winter near

with gnathic aptitude

the lockjaw of late autumn

startled shut, rivers grow covers

smothered, lifeblood slows in the veins


beavers in home-grown velour

regal at your bedside

thick with need, claw through

crusts thick as wrists

to water running, ebbing, still


Anishinabek, ziibi

weave coexistence through one another

one cluster of cells in skin and in pine

a treaty unkept is a scissor through time

serpentine promises, slippery as moss stones


and yet


pickerel spawn upstream in springtime

ice floes toboggan lake-side, young ones

gorge, feast on your run-off

ensorcelled by codependence

grandfather stones planed smooth