Fox was messenger on the land
till traffic paved her child to centerline.
Her vixen scream tore morning
apart, and by twilight she was gone.
Annual grasses died
at the entrance to her boulder-den,
between driveway and creek.
Wild plum dropped its stony fruit.
Now deer has come, dropping her babe
at edge of weedy lawn.
Her presence by glimpses, parable
of scattered words, pages shredded by mice
for their nests. Doe is silhouette,
dual-ear antennae tuned,
keeping her distance,
keeping me always in her sight.
Over sunburned landscape
between dark trees—a sudden flight
camo-creature glimpsed. Out
of sight—the fawn! failing light.
I shift position—focus—there
sunburn camo svelte & keen at alert
long ears receptors aimed at
me —sudden flight. divergent vector.
Jackrabbit? hispid hare? Gone.
Fawn or jack? fawn then jack?
Figments of failing vision or
vision too flighty-keen? Lacking
daylight, imagination’s never tamed.
Unknown wild I wish to name.
In the space between dream and waking
waiting for daylight, you see him,
robed in dark at edge of gorge. Horizon’s
smokestack filling sky with storm.
A truckload of thunder—river booming,
or the heavens?
A man you searched for, no one found.
Birthday candle extinguished.
Did he become river?
You wake in the dark room and,
in your heart, I find the owl
who knows all names.
WAITING FOR DAYLIGHT
I can’t explain the siren pressing me
from behind, stranger in an AMBULANCE
spelled backwards for my rearview mirror.
I can’t explain how 8 warning arrows
appeared overnight in duplicate back to back,
planted like crosses in my right-of-way,
and the skunk dead on centerline
diffusing its scent on summer air.
I can’t explain waiting for daylight
that doesn’t make the answers clear.
WILD TURKEY PARADE
She leads her brood from weedy lawn
to shady pebble-deck, pecking, peck-pecking.
Seven young turkeys learning our land—
where the best acorns are, the bugs and worms.
They don’t spend long anywhere.
The mother leaps up on wrought-iron railing,
surveys in all directions. This is her
territory. Is she the one whose nest was raided
in April on the backside of our hill?
Did she have better luck on a second try?
Has she come to show off her gangly children?
They might be creatures of prehistory,
grazing lush savannah. But it’s dry here,
late June. Already they’re gone, out of sight.
Next time I look, they’re gazing through
sliding glass door at Loki on dog-alert
and Latches in feline crouch.
Turkey knows the bounds of territory.
She fans her tail just like a tom,
and then she’s gone.
Walking in summer-green
the backside of my hill, I saw
the sorrel mare across
our country two-lane. I stopped,
looked. Hello, Beautiful.
She moved in my direction.
I took a step closer. Beautiful
you are. Another step,
she nodded. One foot closer,
I wish I knew your name.
Two fences, two lanes of chip-
seal. I wish
I could take you on the trail.
She began a circle dance
stately as dressage
windrowed in hayfield
on a windy hill.
Traffic whipped between us.
She gazed into my distance
as I turned back toward home.
WAKAMATSU FARM FEST
multitudes of bugs
landing on our happi sleeves
green as fields of festive spring.
—Medusa, with thanks this July 4th to Taylor Graham for her poems today, sharp as fireworks, cool as a summer breeze . . .
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