Ten Deer Walking In January Rain*
Tonight. One deer crosses the third, field road.
by elysabeth faslund
Tonight. January sprinkles her footsteps in darkness.
It is midnight.
No challenge. Silence. Soft rain mists her eyes,
Rivels down eyelashes onto her lips.
She shakes away the drops, crosses well-known fields...
To the second road...
House lights. Street light.
Still no challenge.
Tonight. A ceramic, Egyptian cat perches on my
Window sill, filled with bath crystals from India.
Shiva visited my home this morning.
A gold necklace glitters in the backyard light
Hung under the oak.
Rain on the tin roof, drops bead the glass panes...
Shattering refracted gleams from garnets,
Sapphires...rings on the arm of a pottery elf.
Christmas dances, sparkles.
(How many times did I say the word, 'No'?
How many echoes from a sleeping wolf?)
Tonight. No moon. Tapestry-fog shrouds the
Five deer tip-step...following their leader's dance.
Out of the woods, to the third road.
One has gone before...the buck sees her
Tracks. Senses flame. Caution.
A predator scent...one day old. Silence. Lights.
No challenge. Odd.
His five come abreast. Ghost-drift through green
Tonight. Eagles and hawks are asleep.
Tonight. I bathe away Eternity. Set my hair for
Tomorrow. Victoria Magazine tomorrow.
Tonight...food for my animals. Quiet. Rain.
My bedroom window...a shadow plays.
Tonight...owls do not fly.
Tonight...raging winds. Leaves hang straight.
Tonight...Dorothy does not go home to Kansas.
Tonight...Mars falls into the Earth.
Shadow. The first deer halts beyond my backyard light.
Something. The wolf is not there.
Lifting, turning her head, she sees the buck, his group.
Three more, from the back woods, to the second road.
A fawn, prints no bigger than birth.
Tonight...ten deer cross the last field road behind the
Tonight...January sprinkles their footprints in darkness.
There is no challenge.
Crack of a twig. There are shadows out my window,
Through soft rain unexpected.
My wolf...shaking away the drops, running with the deer.
Making, leaving...no prints.
Away from the light, away from my arms.