Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Traveling Through the Dark

Traveling Through the Dark

Traveling through the dark I found a deer
dead on the edge of the Wilson River road.
It is usually best to roll them
into the canyon:
that road is narrow;
to swerve might make more dead.

By glow of the tail-light
I stumbled back of the car
and stood by the heap,
a doe, a recent killing;
she had stiffened already,
almost cold.
I dragged her off;
she was large in the belly.

My fingers touching her side
brought me the reason—
her side was warm;
her fawn lay there waiting,
alive, still, never to be born.
Beside that mountain road
I hesitated.

The car aimed ahead
its lowered parking lights;
under the hood purred the steady engine.
I stood in the glare of the warm exhaust
turning red;
around our group I could hear
the wilderness listen.

I thought hard for us all—
my only swerving—,
then pushed her over the edge
into the river.

—William Stafford

Posted over on News From Nowhere

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