The Buck

August 1, 2004
Volume 21, Issue 9

Dirt road and forest exhale, crickets rasp,and August pours damp pink light at dusk.

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.