Prairie Fire - - JOHN PASS -

Waiting for any­thing new about deer.

Waiting for ev­ery­thing known about deer.

Waiting for a path to open through the un­der­brush

stranded here species of watch­ful waiting, soft

bod­ied, strad­dling salal in­side

in­vis­i­bly pixel­lated en­vi­rons (densely spe­cific loci

of alert­ness) who might stride gin­gerly off or

leap into your sw­erve. Sinew and twitch and stilted

step­ping is our sig­na­ture through browse, through pon­der,

through what’s left of your gar­den, your un­event­ful

drive home. Who would carry work gloves

to drag the fa­mous corpse/trope to the shoul­der

of yet another North Amer­i­can poem, or re­turn­ing

in them and an old jacket find only smears

of snot and blood on the as­phalt? Who’d get lucky

in the in­terim, toss­ing the veni­son into their pulled-over

pickup? Not us. First time walk­ing the land we’d asked

the re­al­tor (of all peo­ple) re the pressed moss hol­lows

be­low the bluff (she) do deer sleep here? And

(me) would these be good places

for the well?

It’s aquifer, not ground

wa­ter, drilled to through gran­ite you want

with the head near the house... The springy

(still hang­ing) first ques­tion’s still dreaming

still press­ing di­men­sions of pres­ence, suc­cu­lent

des­ti­na­tions: sapling in the pre-dawn, pa­tio shade

un­der climber roses, caged peas. Stat­uesque, test­ing

the breeze up the drive­way, or in the or­chard a

low-limbed leaf-clus­ter in a fore-limbed

up-paw­ing hoof-scrabble and stretch, it lis­tens.

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