April is National Poetry Month, and to mark the occasion we'll be sharing some of our favourite poems from collections we've published over the years. Today's poem is "Antlers" by Richard Kelly Kemick from the collection Caribou Run.
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by Richard Kelly Kemick
The quickest bones that can bloom from an animal,
pedicle stumps budding with the grasping growth
of daydreams. Perhaps it’s not from stunted swamp forests
that the taiga (“land of little sticks”) sprouts its name,
but the sylvan silhouettes of matriarchal prongs,
marching northwards in their eternal number.
In the rut, when the bulls brandish one metre bows,
fuelled with cartilage siphoned from the rib cage,
the sparring comes with shattering explosions,
chandeliers cascading onto the hardwood.
The charged calcium of captured lightning,
splintering electric across the timbered floor.
And what grandeur grows from us? Something to extend
from our bodies like the reaching flames of fireworks
in slow-motion eruption from gunpowder skulls;
bone flame of a skeleton recreating itself.
Something to outstretch and unfurl like horizon.
Something to hold up the sun with Atlean arms.
Though maybe there’s an element of beauty in
the subtle art of inadequacy, fingers
folding into a palm: at the Greyhound station,
your silhouette in the thick white of the headlights
running your thumbs beneath the skin of an orange,
the citric spray, a constellation around your hands.