Skeletal elk, extinction claimed
you, your wide-spread antlers caught
cross-wise in tree-branches,
tangled you to the ground.
Twelve feet across, how did you
hold that crown every year? Shed
in late winter, what birds perched on them,
what animals calcium-gnawed them?
I imagine you in your realm of ice,
migration-driven back and across
Eurasia, your body growing fast,
that chandelier faster.
Head-heavy, doomed allometry
crushed you to your knees. On your back
a Pleistocene lion, at your belly
a wolf helping to tumble you into a bog.
Fog spreads like a cape from the tips
of each antler-tine mounted in ancestral halls,
masks what once were plains, then forest, now empty plains again,
and you, Elk, cover all Ireland, once more.