Bushcraft

James Langer

Snow eddied,  amassed, erased the trails,
and all the instruments failed.

The robot eye of a flashlight bulb
faded to a burnt retina and blinked out.

In the absence of heat, I struck
the flat of a fire-stick, and sparks

flocked to dry tinder and cloth
like lucent moths.

On the great lake of dark, I was afloat
in a skiff the size of my campfire’s glow.

With no food left, I hung the dog on a spit,
pissed in a pot, and boiled my boots.

And with no dog left, I slept
spooned with the helve and head of an axe.

Then stirred by illumination, not
the back and forth sway of a searchlight,

but the blue cascade from a television set.
Traffic outside. Baseboard heaters ticked,

and all my clocks flashed twelve.

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gundogs

James Langer currently edits poetry with The Fiddlehead; Gun Dogs, his first collection, is forthcoming from House of Anansi. Click here to preorder it today.

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