Deer in the Dusk of the River Fire

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Infused, the light of dusk with rose colored skies,

Particulates floating like petals while a funeral cries goodbye

To ashes to ashes the world came down and the orange tipped night

Fell upon us all. Wincing back tears unable to stop the burning

The morning comes without a hint of blue, blurred lines between edges

Of what’s appropriate and what’s come of the north wind blowing leaves and evacuees away

Like the ashes from an urn off the leeward bough, praying for no blowback

Powder kegs and matches like a candle dripping aimlessly in the cracks of the floorboards

I stand with steamy coffee in one hand glasses in the other and look up

To see her eyes mournful as they’re grey and large as saucers

We both stop. She on the right side of the screen door my pupils learning every

Rib in her heaving cage. We locked onto our memory’s with the scent of gratitude

I, simply happy for the company of her our day alighted calm as possible

She’s already gone as I look back from a sip of caffeine and cream

The color of her coat, the cost too dear.

I leave her food and water but that the vestibule in which she’d drank

So vile for what’s not mine to own and so not mine to give

A convenience for what’s so inconvenient. Like Sacajawea she came to show

A way to naive ghostly takers of anything not theirs to own

On behalf of those unseen eyes and voices scratching the ground

In harmonious votes to take more of what’s unowned. At 16 Louisiana never had a chance

And if history’s written by the victors why I’d write this morning’s mystery

Into a verse I know less than she did. Perhaps a coercion not our past to tell

Where had her fawns gone? Old English for ‘glad,’ instead my melancholy gave me away

Like a bride not a corpse that day. And she like all animals have only one thing to trade

A skin – our bodies breathed in unbearable air filled with what’s within

A house and it’s contents all powdered and snowy in the hot August sunrise.

We safely stood still eyes never blinking or moving in the still dark mornings

The smoke from the home bombings burning our lungs together in and out my ribs and her’s

Bellies both distended by forced anorexia and dehydrated depression

At once we both sighted wondering how we came to meet here she wandered to this small place

Where neither spoke the others language though hers the softness of musk in scented memory

But of the wreckage in the silence of loneliness as none of our kind

Nor kin to hear you but you yourself wordless, restless and insincere in our strength

And led right here alone what we were told so young not to do.

In fear my brood quietly disappeared, hoping she knew

Imagine all the world’s children respond like this to step mothers

Reminders of the wreckage as life should be she stole it away

Although they belong to someone’s other body except for today

They’ve come to lie and listen to you and you return to lead

Them home safely except there’s nothing left not even a photo faded

Like the burning two story white dwellings with composite fences

Clorox under the sink, bread and bananas, dentures and hearing aids and sofas

Some say settees, thousands of socks, a mockery of roses can never open fried in the same fires

As cars and their tires. The explosion of propane tanks, the smoldering of perfume, the blush on the counter

And the brush of her cheek all created the morning’s dew heap

And all this time we looked into one another’s eyes, why all other this

That no one thought anything about the displaced deer or the yellow jackets

Mud nest tucked with a Queen burned to death. The boys learning Lewis and Clark

Probably fought over their guide that trip down what was that river

The River Fire it’s called and her voice, their mother as drought stole her dreams

She tried to find them while they played explorer in the stream

Their faces finding fundamentally funny on a poster pasted to a pole

An hour ago by their mother. They’re both found, never lost,

But aren’t all children immortal for even a moment before they’ve

Tasted the air outside of the womb as the wreckage of their once

Pool side home was taken away by the hands without artistry

Just scalpels and gloves and laid on her chest in a moment of love

And at that moment death made its first visit and never let go of his hand

He walked his life with it. Like the doe and her fawns and my life in that second

She broke the lock on our gaze and down to the spotted babes she’d

Tucked into the tall dry grass and no photos are needed

Except the one I took as quickly as she left I kept her right here.

I cannot forget the morning and what’s a deer to do to find her a good enough buck

There’s days anyway when it’s more important to find a hotel with a pool

Where we might enjoy ourselves while the rest of the world burns in hell?

Your secrets safe with me she leans in if to say “it’s funny but I can’t drink from it either.”

Today we got a promotion to sitting on the edge of a sofa

Burning up the road like the back of a limo never to see you again

Flying away with those jeans and up the road to go and have a chance

Like a newborn to never be seen again, because the fires so hot

It had melted even the dental records.

Can we ever know what’s between the gaze of two beasts so

Beautiful so alone so silent

But breath to go out like the River Fires may not

At least in the memories of those who were here and fed and watered

A family of deer.

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