North of all countries

by Julie Corbett

and for tradition, he walks on rainfall
the density of stone, archetypal bear,
no fur-lined pocket to conceal his claws,
sapphires or believable treasure maps.

Spiraling raptors search for more prey,
flying past uneaten clouds and windmills.
Seeing for miles, unhampered by the boy,
the shabby leather of ruby-studded jessies.

One place you find a single mammoth’s tusk,
sedately nudging pebbles and permafrost.
Freshwater mussels wrapping around pearl,
and matchless desire befalls, befalls, befalls,

in stories of gorgeous breath-away crystals,
in queen’s lockets and uncracked duck eggs.
Heroes, poets and villains join the subterfuge,
often known only by the state of their socks.