Ronda Broatch


This morning the antler still sways
in the cold of the creek

I wade, tracking the habits of salmon.
Treading between bodies I find myself

jealous of the bones people keep:
bear claw, clavicle, fishbone, scapulae,

limbs lining sills and shelves, uncommon
icons, secrets carelessly dropped,

bits of soul unloosed: what reveals itself
when the house decays, when skin thins,

is borne away.  What still lives
shifts direction, swims

across sandbar and rock pool,
into dark recesses, heart

crimson, flesh not yet greying
beneath leaves that dot

the water's surface.  A flash of sky
between branches, sometimes November

sun the silver of scales.


Witness the way grass lies flat
beneath the feeder, a fleeting
supplication to the mass it bore.
The burden of frost

is nothing to heat's bristly bulk, bone-
crush of paw, shoulder and haunch.
Wrought iron post, once straight,
now apes the stranger's hunch, curves

in grace to kiss the rimed earth.  
Birds flit from eave to limb, agitate
over suet strewn in the foray.  
What need born

of hunger comes this late December?  
What unfinished moon will tell
of her wonder?  Search for signs
furrowed in woodflesh, depressions

etched in winter pasture, an acceptance
of what was, and is, and is to come.

Ronda Broatch is the author of Shedding Our Skins, (Finishing Line Press, 2008), and Some Other Eden, (2005).  Nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Web, Ronda is the recipient of a 2007 Artist Trust GAP Grant. One of her poems appeared recently on Verse Daily.



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