Elizabeth Bishop Dreams of Moose While Waiting at the Drive-Thru

It is cold this morning,
the field beside us curbed 
by frost, crystals of muted color,
refracted light growing
with the sun’s rise. Our tail lights
flicker and inch closer to the window.

A woman orders her coffee,
a bag of sugar, butter stains
already seeping across a white
bag, hints of smeared jelly. 
From here I can just make out
the creases of a smile as she grabs
the bag, imagine the crinkle of sturdy
paper, the roll of it between the pads
of her finger tips.

Somewhere further back in line,
a horn honks like ovals of geese 
bobbing softly beyond us 
to find a grassy field. My eyes are shut
I see them gathering, their necks’
slow ungulation, long sighs,
an old conversation. They are
unconcerned with interruption—

so, at first, they do not recognize
the calf, still ruddy with its first
fur, looming at the edge of the wood
curious, listening to their chatter
sniffing the dried thistles at its feet
it’s all right now to dream 
of something dim and sweet, otherworldly, 
the air thick with morning.

Jared Beloff is a teacher and poet who lives in Queens, NY with his wife and two daughters. You can find his work in Contrary Magazine, Rise Up Review, Barren Magazine, Bending Genres, The Shore and elsewhere. He is the editor of the Marvel inspired poetry anthology, Marvelous Verses. His work was nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize for 2021. You can find him online at www.jaredbeloff.com