mooncalf paws the air like a prickly pear his purr stuck to your fur like a cockleburr his sniff a berry-smeared wild honey-tongued bear’s he’s a tumbleweed of elegant brambles an epistle of purple-globe thistles a bubbling deliquesce a wild essence who dresses in bioluminescence his seed dispersal’s universal he’s all savage rockfalls and erupting volcanic planets mooncalf’s a living breathing flying mural made of animals and land man says words nature says worlds
To Know What Wildness the Mooncalf Grew
little mooncalf, kick over the milkpail, bellow the yellow moon, after you run away from the farm, the farmer can never catch you.
his youngest daughter glimpsed your shy eyes in frosted windowsills, claims your icecrystal tongue licked her hand at Christmastime.
we know you by the huge primroses never seen before blooming in the rime. hellebores from your stray roots, from bulbs you gulp down, and tubers you unearth in March mirth, huge white moons glistening in black earth.
all the cows follow you into the woods where they grow wild again and know how to hide as if invisible.
Matt Schumacher is managing editor of the journal Phantom Drift, and lives in Portland, Oregon. His sixth collection of poetry, A Missing Suspiria de Profundis, was published last summer by Greying Ghost Press.
Illustration by Aliya Smith.