No grass for you to munch in Ginnungagap,
this empty land. No trees to lie beside,
chew your cud in dappled sunshine. Lost in fog,
you graze endless pastures of ancient, salty ice.
Rivers of milk flow from your four udders.
You suckle Ymir, mighty hermaphrodite,
find Buri lying on his back, entombed. Gusts
of your cow-breath defrost his matted beard.
Swipes of your slurping tongue thaw his cheeks.
Buri, rebirthed to this warming wasteland.
Buri, grandfather of Odin, Vili, Ve, who slay Ymir,
cast his gray blood to form the seas, his bones
the gray mountains and cliffs, his skull the sky
and clouds of our nine worlds. Great cow,
mother of all we see, awakened in this place,
you feed a race of giants, free a race of gods.
Ice of a past world converts to your cream.
Your next spheres rise under Surtr’s flame.
Her Words in the Desert
Like bats in evening, they fly
from the dry cave of her mouth.
Sand is deep on the floor.
Water once smoothed her arid features,
but no more.
How they once rippled
across the stones of my heart.
Alone in our canoe,
we drifted the river, the long route
to the edges of its meanders.
like nests of ancient swallow people,
perched on storied cliffs above us.
Sunlight slanted across the waters
of our morning.
Karen Jones is a teacher, poet, and life-long learner from Corvallis, Oregon. Some of her past work has appeared in Tower Poetry, River Poets Journal, Paperplates Magazine, and Willawaw Journal.