Back 40: Deer on Crazy Creek

Along the trail I think how risky the venture,

the signs that say don’t go alone into bear country.

I can see miles except in aspen. Walking uphill

in sage I think of Yellow Woman, of the stranger

who finds her and takes her into another life.

It’s after that, after coming from a grove of trees,

I climb on a huge split boulder and watch

an ant navigate a forest of lichens. When I

raise my eyes to the horizon, I see you,

the way you hold your head, ambling

along the trail, the sway of your body on this

path made long before humans managed and

mapped this place. You are doing what we do:

head down, step ahead, step ahead.

When you look up and I begin to speak, you stop,

deciding whether to bolt or continue, a turn

for us both. I wonder, do your thoughts go to

the bear at the edge of the mind, the long trail

with golden butterflies on sage, flies that chase

and bite? Do you understand what calls

and calls again from an aspen horizon?

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