A sound like land itself
Reverberates across the valleys,
Open throat of urgency
In the pitch and pulse of the call.

The steep staircase of solstice night
Has been mounted by the moon,
The unwinding begins as shards of light
Slant into caverns hidden from day.

Snows of deep innocence begin their melt,
Belly cords are severed clean as
The animal rises slowly from muddy ground,
Rumbling with ancient hunger.

Thick ligaments recently loosened
Bake resin-hard in the days’ heat,
A chrysalis of tempering and tuning
As the antlers sprout into a crown,

A tree with inverted roots
Kept sharp and useful
For breaking ice, ploughing for grubs,
Pointing to the stars,

Flames on the female
As well as the male,
Rack of antennae announcing presence,
Territory, readiness, danger,

A basket to carry the dead
Across the world to the sky,
A branching wide smile
Behind which to vanish into the hills.

The caribou calls out
The shadows of the night,
Calls out with vowels woven together
To summon the future unknown.