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Christien Gholson

Ancestor, Bringing the World Continually into Being

She struggles through a water-slick crevice, emerges

in another cave. I wake. But she continues, deeper into


the dream, runs her hands across stone, blind, inside

earth’s belly, waits for the creature at the end of her


fingers to move with her touch, begin to stir, feeling

how the darkness moves, speaks. She lights a torch,


gives the creature eyes, sees how it stares back at her,

recognizing itself. She mixes crushed limestone and fat;


haematite and sap. She spits into the paint, mixes herself

into the color, begins the arc of the horse’s head, paints


the eyes, the moment when the colt broke from the herd,

moved towards her, mapped her curiosity and fear by


smell, and entered this dream, each hair on its body an

antenna, sensitive to the shift of starlight. Charcoal


blackens her fingers, and she looks into the horse’s eyes,

alive inside her, looking back at her, returning her to leaf,


ravine, water, blood, the living, the dead.

C. Gholson - Christien Gholson.jpg


Christien Gholson is the author of several books of poetry, including Absence: Presence (Shanti Arts), The No One Poems (Thirty West Publishing), and All the Beautiful Dead (Bitter Oleander Press); along with a novel, A Fish Trapped Inside the Wind (Parthian Books). Several of his chapbooks can be found online, including Tidal Flats (Mudlark) and How the World was Made (2River View). His work has appeared in Ecotone, Permafrost, Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment, Banyan Review, The Shore, Hotel Amerika, Alaska Quarterly Review, Tiger Moth Review, and The Sun, among many other journals. He is a mental health counselor, with a focus on somatic-oriented therapy, and lives in Oregon, surrounded by crows, firs, beautiful and haunted faces, fire smoke, and the dreams of falling leaves.

Bear Review


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