PoetryIssue 20 | May 2014

Two Poems by Kassandra Montag

Moose in Northern Montana

I first see only its haunches, and then
through the leaves, its face blank as a skull.
It does not know time—
how else could it look at me so?
Nothing private in its mind or mine,
our stare an empty glass room, nothing
but its black eyes, flightless ravens,
and its heavy head, still except the jaw
and throat, chewing and swallowing leaves
from the willow that grows
between us.

Its body is an old house
that creaks and stands solitary
in the night, wedged
between the moon and a redwood tree.

If I were to touch its body
I’m certain it would be like stone or water,
some force, some element
I can touch and touch, and still not know.

Below this dirt trail, behind the elderberry
and red-osier dogwood, a river flows.
And if I were to fall among the rocks and water,
the moose would watch, as it does to me now,
those eyes would not blink,
and it would see a sudden death both familiar and distant,
leaf stuck in its throat,
soon washed away.

I have seen death generate movement—
small thrashing fires
lit in votive candles
before the altar.

I am told you run, you attack,
to protect your young. And with the rest
you watch.

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About the author

Kassandra Montag has traveled to most of the contiguous United States, studied abroad in Ireland, vacationed on Grand Cayman Island, volunteered in Haiti, vagabonded through Belgium, Denmark, England, Hungary, Italy, Northern Ireland, Portugal and Wales, and currently lives in Holland. Her work has been published in Midwestern Gothic, Platte Valley Review, and Prairie Schooner, among others.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok