Self-Portrait as Mastodon Remains

Christina Olson

the skull has been punched once        twice           eleven thousand years later, the paleontologistfits another tusk into the holes & sees           what damage the mouth can wreakonce upon an epoch, one mastodon bleeds out           & another one has a killer toothachemastodon, no one ever told you that a hairy coat           hides all the blood       or that the headweeps from any hole it sees fit to           when your bones are resettled in the flooddo not mourn the scattering of jaw from rib           & hasn’t the heart always begged free of the tonguewhen they find what remains of your mouth, smile           finally revealed despite the blue effort of glaciermastodon:                the words breast + tooth in Greek           that was my last kiss                              my best kiss

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Christina Olson’s most recent poetry collection is Terminal Human Velocity (Stillhouse Press, 2017). Her work has also appeared in The Atlantic, Arts and Letters, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Southern Review, and Brevity.

Alaska Quarterly Review

Summer & Fall 2018

Anchorage, Alaska

University of Alaska Anchorage

Editor: Ronald Spatz

Alaska Quarterly Review is one of America's premier literary magazines and a source of powerful, new voices. Works originally from AQR have appeared in Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards; The Pushcart Prize; The Beacon Best; The Best American Mystery Stories; The Best American Essays; The Best American Nonrequired Reading; and The Best American Poetry.

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