"Cleft" by J. Y. T. Kennedy - Winner - Canada Poetry Magazine


by J. Y. T. Kennedy

Were a pair of clovis spearpoints pressed
into the mud now dry as rock?
Or had I found the cloven hoofmark
of some enormous elk?
And what would happen if I drank
the water pooled within?
Heat and thirst compelled me to kneel,
to wet my lips in the muddy swirl.
I tasted the grit in my mouth,
and swallowed.

I arose and the sun caught in my eye.
I stretched and split and twisted back
and stretched, split, twisted again
and again like pulled taffy
until at last I grew a new skin.
Antlers spread to shade me.
I bellowed and danced
faster and faster until my hooves
made sparks against the rocks
and the thirsty forests burned.

I woke among ashes, gray and bitter.
Nothing remained of the old growth
but black pillars, piercing the sky.
Rain came to lay the ghostly haze,
and draw the new growth up.
I covered my eyes. The old
will not return, and the new rises
like a foreign nation whose customs
perplex me, whose prettiness
can not feed my soul.

J.Y.T. (Jennifer) Kennedy was born in New Zealand but has lived most of
her life in Alberta and is a Canadian citizen. She has had a few published
poems in the past, as well as other works, most of which fall somewhere
within the category of speculative fiction.

She posts at
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Published September 24, 2018

Winner: Canada Poetry Contest #1
Top Canadian Poet: Canada Poetry Contest #1


by J. Y. T. Kennedy
(Ardrossan, Alberta, Canada)
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