Deer and wild turkeys quarrel
over cracked corn strewn in my yard.
The deer wield hooves, the turkeys
peck and display. Each party
applies dirty looks. The corn on snow
looks festive and ornamental,
like gold dust sprinkled in quartz.
The world revolves on an axis
that terminates right at that stump,
the one on which a tom turkey
displays a halo of spiked feathers.
The deer refuse to kneel and honor
this phenomenon. Magnetic north
occurs just under the snow,
prickling their hides. I’d spread
more corn, enough for all parties,
but my appearance would spook the deer,
dismay the turkeys, and rupture
the electromagnetic tension
that holds this scene together.
Later, tired of watching the squabbles,
I’ll exit into the forest and slog
thigh-deep through pathless snow
to find an ornamental moment
I can call my own. A boulder
wigged with a snow-cap would do.
Or a wind-broken pine kneeling
with its crown all brittle and rusty.
The forest will scowl but tolerate
my presence. My clumsy deep tracks
will embody my form so firmly
the deer and turkeys, returning
to their customary habitat,
in discovering the trail I’ve left
will be glad they didn’t cross me
in my gross inconceivable flesh.