The tendency is for them to turn, mercurial,
heading anywhere away—white tails
to the banking hillside dappled
by new summer, by new sunlight,
but then around the trail’s bend
this one, decided, discomfiting face-on:
I have had lovers like him, I realize,
recognizing parts of him: one, the stance,
two, the stillness, another, the kinder
caution of his antlers, narrow-set and velvet.
I am the stiller in this encounter
and aware of being strange.
He lifts one hoof to bring it down, the other;
he is sizeable; but he is beautiful,
so I return to watch him from a ridge.
I might have shouted, but the sound
would have made something of me
I am not. I wait a small time,
and step off, and blaze along the soft forest
a semi-circle, and am gone.
JULIA LEVERONE is in St. Louis pursuing a PhD in Comparative Literature at Washington University. Her poems and translations have appeared in Sugar House Review, Crab Orchard Review, and Asymptote, and are forthcoming in Poetry International and Modern Poetry in Translation. She is Poetry Co-Editor for Sakura Review.