A struggling buck, one field beyond, by woods,
tore his antler from his head. The time
had come now for a newer pair, more points.
He cast the antler in the meadow, stood
a moment in relief, then tore away
unbalanced, with the other antler still
in place. He had smelled a field away
my dad and me and others walking there.
I was the girl so fortunate to see
the antler in the grass. I often walked
with  eyes bent to the ground in thought.
The weight of muse was on me even then,
my head was always hanging down, my eyes
saw things in things that startled other folks.
I was thirteen, and lonely, skinny too,
and ratty-haired and slovenly in dress.
I wasn’t sure I’d make the sort of person
anyone would care to be around.
The ground was different. Rocks were there, scooped
out from The Rainbow (there is only one)
and grass that pointed where it longed to go
and never would, except compared to some –
the insect folk defying gravity
not by flying but by never being crushed.

I saw the antler, and the wonder was
the nub was rubbed so smooth it might have been
a curious ancient ivory knob atop
a costly cane, enwrapped in tangled grass.
I snatched the antler up and showed my Dad.
“You never see these in the dirt” he said,
appreciative. “There they decompose so soon.”

I took the natural crown of bone to church,
I held it, silent, while the city crowd
Surged round me in the hallway, sparing me their glance.

Only you stopped short and asked me what I held.
Now I know – I am the sort of girl
a girl like you would like to be around.
And since of all that crowd just you and I
loved beauty well enough to leave their halls
and seek in flesh the Risen Man and God,
I praise the Maker, and the buck, and muse,
not next to Him, but under Him, you know,
and then my own wild brain and ratty hair – and you.


  1. It was the perfect place, the perfect moment. Your lonliness met my uncomprehended loneness and we walked together in silent songs and invisible blossomings of asymmetrical completeness.

    For those years and still when we meet, noisy secrets spin around our heads together, or were they spun by us?

    If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then would not everything such a Beholder beheld be beautiful indeed? That is how we see each other, you and I.

    And P.S., I never once saw your hair ratty, dear, I always had just a sweet touch of jealousy over your unique hairstyle, all Gibson-girl in the front and flowing waves in back…


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