to the dead, to the changed
When they still ask us what we made
of the year that begged to not-be, not be
survived, recalled, or seen, unburied we
will hold them still to stare across a suede
silence of struck spines lying, storm-paved,
scatter-abandoned as wintered cars, flood
of bolt-white stars, the reindeer-caked mud
for miles of August mountain in Norway.
We will tell them, this is how we prayed:
lost, taken from ourselves, hauled into sky;
riddled, electric, shot through with night.
We will tell them all, this is what we said:
world-without-us, leave us where we lie,
smoke-boned bodies black-blown with light.
September 1, 2016
M.K. Foster: “On Monday, August 29th, reports and photos of the lightening-strike deaths of 323 reindeer circulated, carrying with them the Norwegian Environmental Agency’s description of the carnage: a rare natural massacre— these images and words are, to me, among the clearest, most beautiful, and devastatingly exact embodiments imaginable to hold us all as we hold and elegize so much of this hard year in our world.” (website)