Hugh glass beat a bear
became myth of resurrection
wore claws around his neck
beaded his beard with grizzly teeth.
He died twice.
The second death stripped the flesh from his bones,
but still his skeleton wanders lonely at midnight
overturning ancient stones
sifting through shifting sands
eating ghosts of monsters slain centuries ago
waiting for his Indian wife.
They say on the day the monsters broke him by the river for good
and rode to him through clutching trees, weeping,
death disguised as sunlight seeping between branches.
She was too late.
He died before she found him.
she remembers a promise she made to his bloodied body.
Next time, I’ll save you.
Now, she rides to him again
screaming his name
hope disguised as sunlight streaming through branches
making kaleidoscopes on the dappled ground.
She wants to say,
I found you.
She wants to give him her breath.
Mouth to mouth resuscitation
200 years too late.
She keeps resurrection packed in her saddlebags, just in case.
She came back to this place by the water
He hides just inside that cabin.
Is he alone?
Should she knock?
Still after all these decades
She remembers the blade of his knife scraping a pelt.
She remembers the heat of his lips on her pregnant belly.
She remembers the unborn baby she dragged to the next world with her.
When she found him bloody like that
she weighed her skirt down with rocks
waded into the river and drowned.
I found you.
Bodies rise on waves
remembering promises never broken.
This love cannot be undone by death.
This is ancient math
the magic of one plus one
Unwinding threads of time
Unraveling ancient sins
She finds him
moonlight streaming from his skin
The baby he plants in her belly this time is made of dreams.
This child lives forever.