How Far You Live by Marlene Grand Maître

Poem title: How Far You Live
Poet name: Marlene Grand Maître
Poem: from your animal body. It sleeps
in you, faint quiver of sinew.
Your tamed mouth
the architect of a word fortress 
the carnal can’t scale.

               Through a window, you watch a spotted fawn burst
from behind the viburnum, rush its mother, and latch 
onto a teat, whole body a muscular suckling music.

              How to inhabit your animal body, awaken your howl:

Climb out from under grief’s landslide. Roll in anger’s mud. 

Watch everything through wonder’s raptor eye. Mark your territory—

brush against the big-leaf maple, red-osier dogwood, evergreen huckleberry.

On your knees, all tongue and snout, pick up the scent of cougar scat, 

nibble miner’s lettuce, creeping blackberry; hunt violet webcaps, shaggy manes 

and fat jacks. Unfurl your ears to a gang of crows feasting on an anthill, 

to the swoosh of great blue heron wings lifting from a koi pond. 

Your heart drums, eager to be off-leash. Press your pelt against another’s for solace, 

for desire’s surge and ebb. Glutted, stumble into hibernation’s torpor. Wallow.

End of poem.
Credits and bio: Copyright © Marlene Grand Maître
Previously published in Wild Kin (Raven Chapbooks, 2023)
Marlene Grand Maître has had two chapbooks published: Wild Kin (Raven Chapbooks, 2023) and Cancer’s Rogue Season (Frog Hollow Press, 2020). Her poetry has also appeared in many literary journals and in ten anthologies. She has won Freefall Magazine’s poetry competition, been longlisted for Best Canadian Poetry In English, 2011, and nominated for a National Magazine Award. Her poem “Vanishing Point” was chosen by the LCP as a Poem In Your Pocket in 2022. She is on the Board of the Planet Earth Poetry Reading Series Society.