"I Explain Why I Get Lost"
At dawn while elk were drinking at the pool
the men pulled on soft buckskins, tested flints.
They might walk a score of miles before sundown.
My sisters would be sifting pans of grain
while children round of belly stirred up dust.
I would creep three times around the fire
and sing a praise song of the amber meal.
To confuse evil spirits, I'd circle back the other way.
Ah, there was the forest, toadstools blanched,
black cohosh and wolf berry to be gathered only there.
But most days had a flat, dull weave-- giving birth,
watching birth, pounding maize. I wasn't urged
beyond the twisted thorn trees when skies flamed.
Each day, I mean, was the chaff of the day before.
Carol Alexander is the author of the chapbook Bridal Veil Falls (Flutter Press, 2013) and the poetry collections Habitat Lost (Cave Moon Press, 2017) and Environments (Dos Madres Press, 2018). Her work has been published in various anthologies and journals. Forthcoming and most recent work appears in Home Planet News Online, The Cumberland River Review, Southern Humanities Review, SWWIM Everyday, J Journal, Leveler, Third Wednesday, Halfway Down the Stairs and The Main Street Rag.