Dirt road and forest exhale, crickets rasp,
and August pours damp pink light at dusk.
Across the valley, thunderheads
wrap the Taconics like a casket.
I'm breathless, running hard
to beat the lightning home
when I spot him in a roadside clearing,
a statue of himself, shedding rain
with the quiet composure of leaves.
Our eyes lock, and I witness
the wild calm at his core--
like Tony the moment before he died,
and we inhale a world
that creates thunder and charged light,
until the buck plumes a concussion of air,
lifts and turns his head,
raises a gleaming body through a long, leaping arc
and disappears under the green canopy,
rain smashing down,
earth absorbing what beats inside it.