Across a Great Wilderness without You
By Keetje Kuipers
The deer come out in the evening.
God bless them for not judging me,
I'm drunk. I stand on the porch in my bathrobe
and make strange noises at them—
if language can be a kind of crying.
The tin cans scattered in the meadow glow,
each bullet hole suffused with moon,
like the platinum thread beyond them
where the river runs the length of the valley.
That's where the fish are.
I'll scoop them from the pockets of graveled
stone beneath the bank, their bodies
desperately alive when I hold them in my hands,
the way prayers become more hopeless
when uttered aloud.
The phone's disconnected.
Just as well, I've got nothing to tell you:
I won't go inside where the bats dip and swarm
over my bed. It's the sound of them
shouldering against each other that terrifies me,
as if it might hurt to brush across another being's
But I carry a gun now. I've cut down
a tree. You wouldn't recognize me in town—
my hands lost in my pockets, two disabused tools
I've retired from their life of touching you.
Kuipers' 2010 book is Beautiful in the Mouth, which won the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize.
My kids were off from school for Maryland's primary election, so they slept later than usual and I did too. In the late morning, dementordelta came over so I could take her out for a belated birthday lunch and give her presents -- we went to Tara Thai, which made everyone happy (one son had duck, the other pad see ew, I had panang tofu, Delta had pad thai), then we walked over to Target so Delta could get a Halloween Barbie and we could look at the other Halloween toys. Then we came home and watched many hours of Due South, culminating in the finale, which is sad because we have no more to watch -- this is the conclusion of nearly 18 months of watching Paul Gross together in various series -- but it was loads of fun, since we saw "Odds", which has hand-holding and Feds named White and Exley, and "Mountie Sings the Blues," in which Fraser sings, and "Hunting Season," in which Fraser and Kowalski go into a bathroom stall together, and both parts of "Call of the Wild," in which Kowalski tells Thatcher how he can't live without Fraser.
Paul made buttermilk pancakes with peppery scrambled eggs for dinner, since we had fresh buttermilk from South Mountain Creamery; then we walked over to the elementary school to vote in the Democratic primary, where most of the races I cared about were foregone conclusions, but I wanted to help provide a big Democratic turnout to shut up all the pundits claiming that the Democrats suffer from voter cynicism/apathy. It's the first time I've been inside the school since it was rebuilt after my kids graduated, and the floor plan is completely different, which made it kind of strange. Younger son was working on a contemporary adaptation of Pyramus and Thisbe from A Midsummer Night's Dream and older son was working on multivariable calculus. We all watched Warehouse 13, which was quite enjoyable despite the cheesy Indiana Jones atmosphere -- Helena had me at, "I know a thing or two about the opposite sex; many of my lovers were men," and Pete's expression was priceless. We saw a bunny while walking back from voting, so here it is, along with our neighborhood deer:
...a mother and two older fawns who still have their spots.
The mother will herd the babies away if people try to touch them, but otherwise she is fine with my husband jogging by or me taking photos.
Adam photographed them late one evening, using flash...
...and although they were suspicious, they were not particularly scared.
I get nervous about them walking across the road to follow the stream. (Adam took this photo too.)
Here is the bunny we saw as we walked home from voting at nearly 8 p.m. I am loving the cooler weather but I miss it being light out at 8 p.m.