Inspired by the season. . . .
No Volume Control
It's summer. It's June
and the magpies are frantic:
"Hey honey, squawk squawk,
Look at me! I'm romantic!
I build the best nest,
no guy I can't best!
So ain't you impressed?"
Time passes. It's August.
The offspring are frantic:
"Hungry! I'm starving!"
Their volume's gigantic.
"Feed me feed me
The parents must be exhausted but proud—
each kid wound up with the gene for loud.
I stood on my front porch
watering my flowers,
when I heard footfalls and I turned,
prepared to say hello to
whichever of my neighbors
was out, about to pass my house.
a doe stepped by
on twiggy legs,
glossy brown with eyes to match,
ears out to here.
I stilled, still smiling;
she didn't even shy
but kept her pace polite,
and passed so close to me
that if I'd been stretched out
on my sidewalk,
porch edge to public path,
she could have trod on me;
but of course, I'd never ever lie there,
because my caring neighbors
would rush out thinking I was dead,
which if the doe had been a stag
I might quite well have been.
In warm weather they come down
from their foothills hideaway in twos, fours, more,
to sample the buffet on offer in our yards—
grass, bushes, flowers, trees,
in exchange for the thrill of seeing them,
mostly does, but also teens in scruffy coats,
a stag or stags, and if we're lucky, fawns.
Now and then one single buck arrives
and rests in shade for hours having,
lost at love, needing to be by himself,
to contemplate his future.
They all have twitchy ears, limpid eyes,
and spindly legs that look too meager
to support their burly bodies.
sometimes one deer—usually a female—
trails the others, a hind leg grievously askew,
broken by a predator or misstep on the rock.
Each. Lurched. Step. An. Effort.
What misery and irony.
Where is he now?
Now when he is needed,
the man hiding in a tree
with desire and a gun.