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The Stag

The Stag

(from Liberty)

I walk here nearly every day,

But today felt different.

A quality in the air.

A haunting stillness.

Quiet amplified the sound

Of birds, more than usual,

Splashing around the spot where

Snowball usually stops for water,

Punctuated by a racket beyond

A thick bracket of trees,

I moved toward the sound,

Unheeding my mother’s voice

Reminding me I shouldn’t be walking

Alone here in the first place.

Gingerly stepping over stones

That bridge the water,

I landed on the other side where

Others rarely seem to go

I looked around for the cause of

The sound and find everything

In order, the stagnant stream,

The grounding tree with above-

Ground roots, and the pebbled

Passage of the dry creek bed.

His movement startled me.

I had been looking in his direction

But hadn’t seen him in the thicket

Until he announced himself

With a subtle grace that signaled

Both warning and welcome.

I remembered Snowball by my side

And quickly put her on a leash,

Though she seemed to know that

Absolute presence was required.

Majestic, transcendent,

He looked at me and I at him.

And we were not afraid.

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