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The Snow Leopard Mother
The snow leopard mother runs straight
down the mountain.
Elk cliff. Blizzard.
into the night.
Her silence and wild
falling is a compass
of hunger and memory. Breath
prints on the carried-away body.
This is how it goes so far away
from our ripening grapes and lime,
coyote eyes rimming the canyon.
we paddle out in our ice boat
headed toward no future at last.
O tired song of what we thought,
stillness crouches like a prow.
We break the ice gently forward.
If I want to cling to anything
then this quiet of being the last
to know about our lives.
Jennifer K. Sweeney
Jennifer K. Sweeney is the author of Little Spells (New Issues Press, 2015); How to Live on Bread and Music (Perugia Press, 2009), winner of the 2009 James Laughlin Award and the 2009 Perugia Press Prize; and Salt Memory (Main Street Rag, 2006), winner of the 2006 Main Street Rag Poetry Award. She lives in California.