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Ghost Moose

by Kate Hallett Dayton


Thirty years ago camped in a cove on Superior

we woke to thundering hooves after midnight,

tripping over our guy ropes, pulling us awake.

We stuck our heads out, saw no moose in flight.


I spotted my first feasting on cattails.

Another swam across our paddle sprints.

On a trek through Isle Royale, we counted

thirteen, but last year tracked only hoof prints.


Moose die out from brain worms, liver flukes,

overhunted by man and wolf, their cool

forest home lost to pine bark beetles.

As heat encroaches, their deaths reproach us.


I see a moose, badgered by ticks, tear hair off its

hide leaving only its ghostly pale skin.