Eight points to its rack,

a bull elk stands mounted

on a ridge before white columns

of leafless aspens

mixed in the yearlong green

of lodge pole pines

creaking in the same wind

smoothing snow downhill

into the endless valley.

I can neither move ahead

nor backtrack under marbled sky

for fear the bull might join cows

seated unseen under forest arches.

The bull, taking its time,

breaks the snow’s crust

leaving a curving trail

into memories of fallen trees.


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