—after Psalm 89, lines 26–35

Is it that I have had a richness 
of choices, have I gazelled 
sideways from one riverstone to the next?

         Or has this been a series 
         of false starts—
         the hoof withdrawn 
         at the slightest snow?

         January’s Wolf Moon calls her pups 
         into the night—marks 
their necessary kill. We all
need to eat

even in snow—hoof paused 
over the water—my heart says
trust—my tracks say 


Copyright © 2023 by Donna Spruijt-Metz. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 7, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets. 

About this Poem

“This self-portrait was drafted after the full moon in January 2021, in the wake of California lifting all COVID stay-at-home orders. I was terrified and not ready to leave the quiet seclusion of my house. The lines from Psalm 89 that inform, maybe even underpin, this poem reflect the Psalmist’s emblematic and inscrutable comfort—the fraught nature of our own desires—how each step takes us closer or further from what is holy, how we can only make our best guesses and get on with it because life requires motion, yet we cloak our world in cruelty—and I hesitate.”
―Donna Spruijt-Metz