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.