In a thicket of body-bent grass
by Jessica Jacobs
Arkansas is aspic with last-gasp summer, making running
like tunneling: the trail’s air a gelatin
of trapped trajectories.
Yet deer float the twilight field,
ears periscoping the woody browse.
While bucks bed alone
in deadfall and ditches, trusting themselves
to thick cover, females gather
where wind can breathe in
a predator’s scent. Forelegs origamied into a mantis prayer,
they are poised to spring even when sleeping,
survival a balance between stillness and startle.
I stop, kneel, stalk
along blowdown of sumac and hackberry, cowlicks of crab grass.
Eye-level, the field is messy as a made bed unmade
by love, my hands greened and musked
from ungulate scat and piss. The deer—dark hillocks merged
with their shadows—welcome the animal
I’ve become, offer
an abandoned bed, matted and dusky as the sweated twists
at the base of your head those mornings you wake to thank
death for conceding another day. For the slatted light bugling
through the shades. For my palms to your breasts, my breath
to your neck.
Here, though, tonight, creature
in another creature’s bed, I am taking
just a moment to be an animal alone
in my own head. All while you, I know, are home,
trying not to look for me, again,
out a window grown so dark it just reflects.
Forgive me. I’d grown so used to being lonely.
Photo: “Head shot,” by Avel Chuklanov via Unsplash.
This poem is courtesy of Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database
This post, about enjoying wholeness and connectedness, fits in the teal portion of the singing wilderness spiritual map.