Sometimes a Deer is Just a Deer
He showed me the evolutionary chart.
In the first stage, the poet hunched
over death in the mouth of a dark cave.
In the second stage, the poet leaped thru
a field of wildflowers shaped like love,
his gaze on a thing we could not see.
In the third stage, the poet stalked the edge
of the woods, camouflaged, hunting out
the ways two worlds intertwine, as a deer
bounded across the two-lane and disappeared
into the trees as if to represent the heart of man.
In the fourth stage, the poet sat in an arbor,
birds singing on his broad shoulders,
as if he had become a home for them,
his eyes fixed on a yellow flower, for this was
the final stage, where life was delicate,
yet resilient, and art was a setting free
from the root. But, even after all this time,
I try to tell him, yes, there are moments
when there is nothing but death,
and sometimes love is both day and night,
and sometimes a flower grows
where it has no business, as do thoughts
and fears and maybe even hope, but
sometimes, sad to say, a deer is just a deer
no matter how hard you look,
the way life is often dismissed
in the search for something more,
and you fail to recognize it
for the simple beauty of its being what it is
until it has slipped back into the woods,
for then you understand it was everything.
-Lafayette Wattles (Boxcar Poetry Review)