11-11-12 Prey


It’s the Broken Eared Buck. He was born in June 2004. His mother hid him in the safety of the tall grass bordering the creek as the daughter of Levi had hidden Moses. But, it was not the Pharaoh’s daughter who found the spotted fawn curled tight, unafraid in its innocence, but my daughter and me who stumbled by chance onto the tightly pressed oval. In the heat of the summer’s eve, he grazed in the cabin clearing. We sat on the porch, almost afraid to breath, the two of us and the three dogs and the Irish kitty, watching. He was a rover, and when he came back in the early spring of the following year, he sported the mark of adventure.


He wandered, yet, in the fall when the snows came and the hunters, he would come back to us. It was his habit to surprise me one day as I drove in on the rough dirt road with the willows spreading out on each side, standing in front of the rising western clump, watching me as I once watched him. ‘I am back.’ He attracted a harem. In the springs to come, I looked at the new fawns, wondering, is this one his, or that one, or both?


As he grew, massive chest, proud head, he became as a wild child one could only watch and love and not control, admiring with an ache he did not return. I would call to him in a soft voice, ‘stay here, please, stay here.’ One late afternoon, below the schoolhouse bluff, a circling pickup with a young, careless man swinging a rifle from the pickup bed shot him. A bad shot. My Broken Eared buck crashed across the river. I waited for him. Late at night he came back to the tall grass by the creek. I heard his harsh breathing. He made it to the bank of the river, thirsty, so thirsty, his strength pouring from him. A coyote found him, unable to fight. He had made it home, but no more. W. H. Auden’s Antonio: Me: I am I, by choice myself alone.

There are other bucks, now, though fewer in number, and younger in years. The pickups and the careless young men drive the roads, scouting, to return at night releasing the sharp crack of a rifle which wakes me from uneasy sleep. Quoting Moses’ Bible they say it is their right, their dominion over all species. The hunters would be surprised, and probably, disbelieving to hear it is a distant cousin they are killing.

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