Imagine: you climb onto the thick
back of a water buffalo, its coarse
hair against the grip of your palms,
its scent of mud & field. It took
work to mount this beast, as tall as you,
& now you roam into the wild hills
& are never heard from again.

Left to myself I tend toward drinking
in the stories of those gone, thinking
myself gone, too. What happens if I breathe
in from here? I’ll take in a mountain,
I’m guessing, & turn it to ash inside,
or flowers. I know I’ve said love
too lightly. But this time I meant it.



Maya Jewell Zeller‘s poems, essays, and stories appear widely. She is the author of the collaborative collection (with artist Carrie DeBacker) Alchemy For Cells & Other Beasts (Entre Rios, 2017) as well as Rust Fish (Lost Horse, 2011) and Yesterday, The Bees (Floating Bridge, 2015). Maya teaches writing for Central Washington University.