The Stag In Me

The Stag In Me

I feel the stag in me

the moment I smell the beast. He has

a sour stink, high and earthy. He comes close

to the fence of wire that chains him in

and he looks at me.

I look back, into the black lozenges of his eyes.

I can feel him. I begin to imagine his thoughts.

What can I get from you? Food or sex?

Reaching through the wire

I touch the rough bristles of his fur, harsh and coarse.

I am surprised by unexpected warmth, body heat,

and get the instant sense of his life, of his birth,

of his waking and eating and passing through

woods and over hills, of rain on his back

and pure, fresh, cold air in his lungs.

I hear his breath, see it curl and blow

and come and go in the wind.

He is magnificent.

He lowers his head and jabs at me with his antlers,

irritated. No food. No sex.

He turns and walks away, towards the timorous hinds

hiding in the trees.