The Exhaustion of the Hunt
I saw the red deer leap,
their lean livers convulsed with shyness,
which I understood -
I had read a story once about a stag
that dragged a drowning man
from the river, the water rainbowed
his coat, unveiled in the sunlight,
only to spur on a rich man's desires,
and I, forewarned
of the heightened danger
in any exposure of vulnerability.
Years ago, when I had lost all will,
a fallow deer watched me,
half hidden in long grass,
and I held on.
I have seen them in photographs too,
of cave paintings, almost ungainly
with an exaggeration of mossy antlers,
how they must have panted,
tongues lolled, hide itched with sweat
in the exhaustion of the hunt;
the surge of adrenaline
as it wanes to fatigue.
The blench of past pain hums
its verbs in your bones,
you do not recover from it,
you do not stop flinching:
hooves fixed to earth to sense
its throbbing in nouns of soil and root,
the spread of fungus reached out
as a wide map of nerves
all muttering their dark grammar.
Here, I search for redactions
and misunderstand everything,
but in the honesty of misinterpretation,
I find myself.
Image from wikimedia commons: