Beneath an arc of fluorescents,
on a cold, concrete island, I let anger bite
the fleas from my memory and hate them
for the taste of their indiscretion.
I breathe out. I breathe in deeply.
I let the gasoline fumes sedate me.
Across the road a buck steps up from a gully.
Snorting, he sets his hoofs against blacktop
and begins coming across. Behind him, I can see
white melons growing from the fog.
It might be my imagination,
but there’s a bouquet of steam
and blood blossoming
from the buck’s nostrils
as he’s struck down against the road.
The truck rolls on, into the fog again,
its brutal horn decaying.
The buck lies splayed across the lines
like a fallen dancer. My mouth
tastes like gravel as he struggles to stand.
His muzzle is smeared
red; his antlers are unbroken.
He wobbles then bolts
across the road into blobs of mist.
From the firs poised just beyond
the light, crows rise with surly voices
to bite at the wafer of the moon.
I’m startled by the clunk
of the halting pump, and then the only sound
left is an orchestra of crickets.
Somewhere among the trees,
a buck settles on a cushion
of rusting pine needles
JONATHAN TREECE is an award-winning editor, poet, and playwright. His poetry has been published in The Axe Factory, Avatar Review, Backbone Mountain Review, and elsewhere. He recently finished a painting and poetry collaboration that examined the demise of a small, rural town titled “The Piedmont Project”. He lives in Cumberland, MD with his wife.