Saturday, September 27, 2014
It's a fine day in March for snowshoeing
and we take the new path abutting the CSA farm
where there is now a fence-- the same fence
at which the deer halt and peer in
at all that is ripe and lush.
Uphill, I trudge, the claws of my snowshoe
scratch at old ice as I search for the portal
they had found through the brambles.
I loosen my scarf and unzip my coat,
useless, a bear hide across my shoulders.
The slender trunks of gray rise up
from mottled white and scrape the blue sky;
My dog trots her lady dog trot beside me.
My sister, behind me, is further away now
thinking of all the things she could be doing.
I saw them early one fall morning
in the pink mesh of the thicket
crossing the creek, a heard of quiet
in the woods, surefooted and sentient.
They startled me, and I them
and they went to higher ground through
this portal in the brambles.
They perched above me, silent
as if they were etchings on a cave wall
A flutter of tails, they took no chances
and being the mythical creatures
they are, vanished.
This Way, I shout to my sister
who has turned back, who has lost hope
who has no time for guesswork.
My dog nervously pants, as a slender
green whip catches my thigh and
another scratches my cheek. A fallen
limb here, there, my snowshoe a shutter
swaying on its hinge. I lose my pole and it
too is a slender thing in the snow.
I fight. I slash at the thorns,
I stab and curse all of the year's failures.
Like a tall oak, I sway and creak.
A tendril claws at my cheek. I try
to come through; I think of coming through.
My sister's voice is small and importunate. This way.
In the snow-- prints, hooves, pellets; they
could be watching me. I wait; I wait longer
than I should have. I give up, head back
to the farm where the path is wide and easy.