This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Ghost Moose by Margo Taft Stever, released by Kattywompus Press in 2019.
Searching for moose, the children run down to the river, calling
the already-gone, the forgotten, for freedom of stench,
the smell of skunk weeds. Moose calves become ghosts,
rubbing fur, skin, scraping ticks off on tree bark.
In mild winters, ticks multiply and multiply, occupy moose calves,
killing them slowly; their mothers witness starvation from blood loss.
Moose calves resemble ghosts, tearing fur, skin.
Calves waste away. Wasted bodies frighten the forest
floor—foresters call April the month of death.
In 2019, Margo Taft Stever’s second full-length collection of poetry, Cracked Piano (CavanKerry Press), a 2021 Eric Hoffer Award Finalist, and her chapbook, Ghost Moose (Kattywompus Press), both appeared. In 2022, her third full-length collection, THE END OF HORSES, will be forthcoming from Broadstone Press. Her four other poetry collections include The Lunatic Ball; The Hudson Line, 2012; Frozen Spring; and Reading the Night Sky. Her poems have appeared widely in literary magazines including Verse Daily, Plume,upstreet, Academy of American Poets, Poem-A-Day Blackbird, Salamander, Prairie Schooner, New England Review, Cincinnati Review, Rattapallax, Webster Review, and West Branch. She is the founder of the Hudson Valley Writers Center and the founding and current co-editor of Slapering Hol Press. In 2021, as Adjunct Assistant Professor, she taught Poetry and Bioethics in the Bioethics Department of the Medical School at Case Western Reserve University. She also teaches poetry at Children’s Village, a residential school for at-risk children.