Blue Wildebeest

they call it—blue the way a fox’s fur
is burnt orange, or a gray snake has pretensions

to indigo. So when you hear blue, you want
as much as his first namer, to see

the color blurring his hide, something more
than charcoal on charcoal: the artist’s smudge,

the world before it was formed, the thigh on thigh
of night and horizon, glints of his fur like sparks

in the earth’s dark coverlet.
And like you and I

after a fight—both fixed on promises
words can’t seem to keep, willing again

to let them take the blame, whole etymologies
that were never ours to begin with—

his horns point at each other,
curve back to each other, a memory

of water still glistens from his nose, a current
our bodies, kindled, will recall

from the darkest corner of a mostly dark room,
where his mounted head broods, reduced now

to inkling: to be bodied,
to be arced by the midnight sky,

by its vast, intangible ink.

Elizabeth Cranford Garcia’s most recent work has appeared in Tar River Poetry, Portland Review, CALYX, Tinderbox Poetry, and Anti-Heroin Chic, is the recipient of the 2022 Banyan Poetry Prize, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. She is the author of Stunt Double and serves as the current Poetry Editor for Dialogue: a Journal of Mormon Thought. Read more of her work at

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