Grave guardian,
slumber with bones from now on.

You are closer to earth
than the reindeer who buries his head

in snow smelling for moss,
nearer than well water,
                      closer than the fox.

Minerals of the living fold into ivy
and basalt. Ground goes on above.

           Drifter of descendants,
let go of your startled skin.

Your pigmented breath
is a frightened thrush
                      prone to bolting.

Do not flee your keeping.

Each plate will be plentiful
as long as the children remember you.

you are meant to arrive so as to return.

Like arctic fauna
                      shedding winter pelt,
weather dwells inside your mane.

           Lava contours in your palm.

Your throated cold is built from clay
           in the hardened eye.


Mai Der Vang

Erin CaseThird Quarter (collage)