09-15-2021

Linda Hogan

 

Outside My Cabin

 

The day the buffalo appeared

where I live with wild horses.

I thought, They are clearing the land again

for ranches,

after the old growth, as they did

clear us away,

then the wild horses,

and even the wolves.

 

Recently a pack of wolves came down

from the Yellowstone fire,

five ghostly presences floating

across the snow.

No one believed me at first

            and that was good

because no shooters saw them here.

 

It was as if they were transparent,

but the ghostly animals killed a deer

outside my window.

I followed the blood,

a thinning trail to the pink, chewed bones,

only teeth marks still on them.

 

Later I returned from work

to find they’d attacked an elk.

When I stepped forward

they disappeared so quickly

into the wind-blown snow

but the still living elk remained close

with the horses

until it healed.

I was its protector.

Then it was gone.

 

I tell no one

about the buffalo

living here now

because I know what they would do.

You ask why would they do it.

I think it is in their blood

to leave a forest of cleared trees

a wake of red,

as if they can

or can’t

help themselves.

 

 

 

The Bears Eating

 

The ocean is never still,

the earth moves we know

because there are those who measure it.

Nothing is ever quiet.

No living thing is silent.

The cracking of bones wakes me at night

and I do not know this new sound,

but two bears are at the skeleton wolves left behind,

eating the fat in bones.

Even last winter’s old death makes a noise

with the new life roused.

 

 

 

The Writing of Snow

 

Snow is a book of history

writing its new language,

changed moment by moment,

but I read the tracks I find before the wind.

Here a flatness passes through

with claw marks on each side,

the tail of a beaver that slipped into the water

that wishes not to be petrified as ice 

so the currents turn it crystal instead,

ice in beautiful turrets,

formations of geology,

layered, some old, some deep.

 

The story is newly changed

each day as I come read the tracks of the living,

bobcat, deer prints like punctuation,

and wonder, like the mysteries in a human,

what creatures, what songs, what countries,

swim beneath it all, or above

and the sky entire white

sometimes the wing marks on

new snow, each small crystal falling

with its own original say.

-from A History of Kindness (Torrey House Press 2020, Pulitzer Prize Finalist), selected by Fall 2021 Guest Editor, CMarie Fuhrman 

A Chickasaw novelist, essayist, and environmentalist, Linda Hogan was born in Denver, Colorado. She earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and an MA in English and creative writing from the University of Colorado-Boulder. Hogan is the author of the poetry collections Calling Myself Home (1978); Daughters, I Love You (1981); Eclipse (1983); Seeing Through the Sun (1985), which won the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation; Savings (1988), The Book of Medicines, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist (1993); Rounding the Human Corners (2008); Indios (2012); and Dark. Sweet. New and Selected Poems (2014). Intimately connected to her political and spiritual concerns, Hogan’s poetry deals with issues such as the environment and eco-feminism, the relocation of Native Americans, and historical narratives, including oral histories. William Kittredge, in his introduction to Hogan’s Rounding the Human Corners, noted, “poets like Linda, through their language, open for us a doorway into their specific resonating dream of the electric universe.”

04-13-2021

Victoria Chang

04-13-2021

Victoria Chang