Our friend is an expert hunter and directed
the hike with an autumn pursuit in mind.
I followed, hazy and distracted
by my internal loss that seemed to wind
like a slow corkscrew pressing time in a painless
twist that said Too old, too late, with every grind.
Behind the two dogs we fanned down the mustard cress,
grumbling through the brambled gorse and stopped
at the lake, transfixed by quiet's evanesce
from the water's scrim to us. The doe ran past but the dogs caught
her fawn and it screamed an articulate primal wail,
rending the air, until he tore them apart, not
stopping the barking, or people yelling Do something, they'll
kill it, but by then the fawn was released, had bolted.
Someone held onto each leash as we waded back, the pastoral
mountain now more of a challenge, or less, depending how you counted
fatigue, surprise, interception - what is saved, what stays damaged.
YOU ARE READING
The Dictators' Guide to Good HousekeepingPoetry
Selected by Margaret Atwood for the 2012 Atty Award. Collection of 10 poems. (The cover photo is a detail from the painting "Eine kleine Nachtmusik" by Dorthea Tanning. Tate Collection, London).