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By Kevin Craft

Among the many lives you’ll never lead,

consider that of the wolverine, for whom avalanche

is opportunity, who makes a festival

of frozen marrow from the femur of an elk,

who wears the crooked North Star like an amulet


of teeth. In the game of which animal

would you return as, today I’m thinking

snowshoe hare, a scuffle in the underbrush,

one giant leap. You never see them

coming and going, only the crosshairs


of their having passed, ascending the ridge, lost

or not lost in succession forests giving way

to open meadow where deep snow

lingers and finally relents, uncovering

acres of lily — glacier yellow, avalanche


white — daylight restaking its earthly claim.

Every season swallows someone — 

Granite Mountain with its blunderbuss

gullies, Tatoosh a lash on the tongue,

those climbers caught if not unawares


then perfectly hapless, not thinking of riding

that snowstorm to the summit, not thinking

wolverine fever in the shivering blood,

not thinking steelhead cutthroat rainbow

or the languid river that will carry them out.


Source: Poetry (January 2015)

  • Activities
  • Living
  • Nature

Poet Bio

Kevin Craft
Kevin Craft lives in Seattle, and directs both the Written Arts Program at Everett Community College and the University of Washington’s Summer Creative Writing in Rome Program. He is the editor of Poetry Northwest.

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