December 11, 2012

It steps onto the path fifty feet from me,

My fourth and last traverse of the circle trail,

And I dead-stop,

The six point buck now facing me,

This alpha deer with no intention of running;

We lock eyes, my breaths quick, my body soaked with sweat

From four ascents of Heartbreak Hill;

The buck does not blink,

Its thick haunches swathed in dark fir;

Its majesty and fearless gaze is thaumaturgical—to me

(“It’s just a deer,” I imagine unromantic friends saying, “ubiquitous, man.”)

To me, this day, after seeing a barred owl, a red-tail hawk, a red fox,

This encounter is a portent;

An ancient Indian would have interpreted all these as signs;

Brother Buck tired of me and walked south through the oaks,

Slow, as if to say, You are insignificant;

It didn’t know Man—Man’s inclinations for conquering,

For culling, for shooting, for trespassing, for selfishness;

This day belongs to the buck, not thinking of the future,

Alive and proud and haughty, sensuous and sentient.


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