Issue 17 | Summer 2015

Caribou Resting, 2010

Inuit stone cut and stencil
—Kananginak Pootoogook

The two caribou ground me
frozen in their stone-cut repose
brown and white on sea-grey background,
one floating above the other, perspective
be damned.

Legs, folded neatly underneath
elegant bodies of speckled brown;
one looks behind, another
to the east,  and I imagine the sun
rising before their unblinking
eyes, the tundra awash in early light.

I want to read them like
a book of hours, to clear the frost
from my brain, the rushing world
that seizes me with its stuttering cities,
the choke of dark and busy words.
I want the clarity of cold, the still
warm indentation their bodies must leave
in the snow, the musky animal scent
that means a different life
than this one. Let them
unfold their legs carefully

and raise the warm breathing
torsos up, rump first; the sickled legs
unbending, all grace as they wend
away, swift and soft, like currents
of snowed air. And let me

feel the clear mind
of the one whose steady hand
could balance them
just so
on my calendar of days.


Raphael Kosek’s poetry has appeared in numerous journals and magazines including Still Point Arts Quarterly,  The Chattahoochee Review, Catamaran and is forthcoming in Southern Humanities Review and Poetry East. She lives in the Hudson Valley where she graduated from Vassar College and now teaches American lit and creative writing at Marist College and SUNY Dutchess Community College.  Her 2009 chapbook, Letting Go, was published by Finishing Line Press, and her new chapbook, Rough Grace, just won the 2014 Concrete Wolf Chapbook Competition and will be published in the fall of 2015. She has written and published many ekphrastic poems inspired by O’Keeffe, Homer, Rousseau and Inuit stone cut prints.  She is fascinated by the relationship of art and life.


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