Katrinka Moore

from Numa

night storm / a tall pine
upends, sprawls across
an ephemeral pool, hatches
an emptiness that sunlight
fills / root bed uncovered,
muddle of moss rock mud, a few
trapped feathers, speckled,
still soft, still smooth / Numa
lifts her face to the warmth, half-
shut eyes, apparition


A stripling dreams      dangerous nights
pale clouds course      across the sky
stillness below.      A boulder topples
hurtles down      & hews an artery
through ancient trees.      Transformed amid
the vestiges      he jettisons
his qualms and fights.      Defeats—alone—
an umbrous demon.      This dusky world
that lies outside      all ordinary ebb
& flow, goads him      to glory-seek.


river-dives / surfaces
sleek-furred / falls
in with a rollicking
clan / water-chase
& wrestle / toss &
roll sun-white bone /
slide-mud splash &
whistle / Numa flirts
with a winsome pup /
hiss    purr    growl
squall    /    hum


                               He seeks a monster
to challenge, to battle.      Chances upon
the numen, protean      nymph-animal—
no breath of fire      no fearsome talons
no sword-proof scales.      Scaddle creature,
circler, unguarded      guardian, wordless
messenger, monstrum      omen, vessel.


sleeps on the bank & in early
morning soaks up the dew, draws

it in past fur, through hide, till she
spills over, follows a furrow, enters

                                                                            the river,
mingles — she’s drunk in, swallowed, becomes
wetness & motion, takes the tint
of the sky, forgets her old being

shifts & starts, sputters —
Numa’s head seeks air,
air    &    the earth-side blue
ripples toward land

shakes her
self   dog
like, water
the grass


apex, or just
after / unclouded
light glimmers
the river, washes
color across
the plain / day
stretches / this
moment          almost
forever / Numa rolls
on her back, pulls heat
to her dun-colored belly


far away / the numen
marks the edge
/ one of many circles

Katrinka Moore is the author of Thief and This is Not a Story. Recent poems appear in First Literary Review-East and the brevitas annual festival of the short poem anthology. These poems are from Numa, a series about a shape shifting creature. Other Numa poems appear in Otoliths 18 and 19.
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