The young buck lies down under my window
in the shade of the deck above, the knobs
on his budding antlers furred like kiwifruit.
Now and then a ray of sun slips down
between the deck boards, makes the fuzzy
antler tips shimmer like that quick-wittedness
the buck will need when others of my kind—
vested in orange, vested in camo—come
creeping through forest mist in late October.
Am I wrong not to pound the glass each time
he comes to rest here? Not to scare him off
so he learns early on who to distrust? Instead,
I study how his teeth tear up tough strands
of fescue and grind them into a green mash
with sideways juttings of his narrow jaw. This
while his dark eyes grow soft, and he drifts
into a kind of unguarded mindfulness, a mood
that for a few uncounted minutes is mine to share.
Joseph Hutchison, Colorado Poet Laureate (2014-2019), has published twenty collections, most recently Under Sleep’s New Moon, The World As Is: New & Selected Poems, 1972-2015, and Marked Men. His poems have appeared widely in such journals as Adirondack Review, New York Quarterly, and Naugatuck River Review as well as several anthologies, including New Poets of the American West and A Ritual to Read Together: Poems in Conversation with William Stafford. He lives with his wife, Melody Madonna, in the mountains southwest of Denver.