our first day,
a deer loitered outside the kitchen
window, chewing a clump of shrubs
in the parking lot between
their house and the commuter
rail tracks to the suburbs.
Furry ears, peach fuzz around
the antler tips, soft, dreary eyes—
afraid if I moved, I’d break the spell
of our ridiculous L.L. Bean tableau.
His legs tensed, ready to flee if I reached
for the dish soap or squeezed
the sponge too hard. We stared,
sized each other up: you are Nature—
either boring, like a robin posing
on the front lawn, or terrifying
(killer bees, tornadoes, the mysterious
cicada drone in my ears that began in this
moment, staring each other down).
I hate the grass and mosquitos—
in the Midwest, it’s never polite
to tell the truth, but I’m back East
now, where niceties waste everyone’s
time. We’d just flown in and had lunch.
Liz took a photo. I eventually looked
away and finished the dishes.