We track this slow animal in the snow

because it leaves a blood trail


and we think that makes it vulnerable

But then it circles back


breaks the trap and eats the bait

and suddenly disappears


Or comes up behind us

to prove its fangs are real


and at the same time

whispers to us in a soft voice


It lives in artefacts

among monuments and ruins


and at night drinks and carouses

and knocks on doors with its pommel


touting a swashbuckling history

But then finally grows old


and into a child again

was when it was first only a word


delicate as freedom or liberty

dried into a fragile antiquity


subtle as synapses in the brain

or the language of animals


Sing louder they say

and it will leave us alone


and when we dream of flight

it proves to us we have not


the wisdom of birds


George Moore

George Moore’s collections include Children’s Drawings of the Universe (Salmon Poetry 2015) and Saint Agnes Outside the Walls (FutureCycle 2016). He has published poetry in The Atlantic, Poetry, Arc, North American Review, Stand, and Orion. Nominated for seven Pushcart Prizes, and a finalist for The National Poetry Series, he presently lives on the south shore of Nova Scotia.

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