Back to Issue Eight.

The Ordained



Once snow has filled the lungs, it takes
time to cover the body. Winter hounds

the animals but waits to scrub them down
the trees, and my vocation was to wait,

my marriage veil a wimple, this my state
of tight-packed snow. If God were a season

then he would surely be winter, would ground
by starvation, by frostbite, he would bate

in pairs. I outwitted God by haunting
bear-empty caves and feeding off their pawn,

striping a tree into a rib-thin wife.
I gave my soul to God but he wanted

my body. I gave to winter what belonged
to winter. The rest I cut free with a knife.


Jacques J. Rancourt was raised in Maine. His poems have appeared or will appear in New England Review, Kenyon Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, and Colorado Review, among others. He is currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.