Lost Overnight in the Woods

Lost Overnight in the Woods
erix!

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audio: Lost Overnight in the Woods
audio of John Beaton's poem, Lost Overnight in the Woods

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Lost Overnight in the Woods

The horizon garrottes the twilight’s throat. I sleep-walk
through slash and over deadfall. My arms, white canes,
antenna me through copses; touching tree-trunks,
legs of huge tenebrios, whose abdomens
are canopies of darkness under elytra,
I walk. Winds whisper mantra after mantra. 

Now branches frieze the sky—wrought-iron frost-work
Cistines the darkling beetles’ undersides.
I see an Agincourt arrow, a kingfisher, flash-track,
grey, but fletched with blurs of blues and reds, 
through ribs of fallen trees that cage a reach
where swans' necks question whether day will break. 

A bull-elk rears. His forelegs scissor the moon-rays.
He splashes down, legs thrashing the water, then dips 
his head in the glister, raises his rack like a sunrise,
shakes it, smithereening his crown, then grasps
the horizon’s rope in his antlers; with a swing and a sling,
throws bolas at darkness’s legs and unstrangles the sun.