Standing in the dark

April 30, 2015

River

Nearing home I took a long-cut
into unbreathed air, wide fields, stars;
my lights lit cow-parsley, spectral and eerie.
It was late and lonely
and I was thinking of William Stafford,
the deer he found on a mountain road.
pregnant and dead with her young still in her,
of what he did,
of what I might have dome.

The dark was vegetal,
I inhaled it
with the breath of small creatures pulsing near me.

Alone by the canyon,
to stop others swerving,
he heaved her with her young still in her
over the edge and into the river.

Clutching a happily handy knife
would I have slit her warm, full, belly,
extracted the fawn,
cut the cord,
wiped its frail limbs gingerly,
placed it on my coat on the car seat,
and lumbered and anxious
driven off to find fosterage?

He chose the sensible way,
modest and human.

Here a soughing wind
softly picks the teeth of the old stone walls;
by the birdless fields on the muddy verge
under Cassiopeia pulsing and silent,
what am I waiting for
standing in the dark,
why can’t I go home?

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