mooncalf paws the air like a prickly pear
his purr stuck to your fur like a cockleburr
his sniff a berry-smeared wild honey-tongued bear’s
he’s a tumbleweed of elegant brambles
an epistle of purple-globe thistles
a bubbling deliquesce a wild essence
who dresses in bioluminescence
his seed dispersal’s universal
he’s all savage rockfalls
and erupting volcanic planets
mooncalf’s a living breathing flying mural
made of animals and land
man says words nature says worlds
To Know What Wildness the Mooncalf Grew
little mooncalf, kick over the milkpail,
bellow the yellow moon,
after you run away from the farm,
the farmer can never catch you.
his youngest daughter
glimpsed your shy eyes in frosted windowsills,
claims your icecrystal tongue
licked her hand at Christmastime.
we know you by the huge primroses
never seen before blooming in the rime.
hellebores from your stray roots,
from bulbs you gulp down,
and tubers you unearth in March mirth,
huge white moons glistening in black earth.
all the cows follow you into the woods
where they grow wild again
and know how to hide as if invisible.
Matt Schumacher is managing editor of the journal Phantom Drift, and lives in Portland, Oregon. His sixth collection of poetry, A Missing Suspiria de Profundis, was published last summer by Greying Ghost Press.
Illustration by Aliya Smith.