No longer can we tell the shape
of our vehicle from night.
In the road ahead the animal
of our hot noise and prodding lamps
rolling slowly behind it.
Unlike racoon or fox,
it doesn’t scramble to the shoulder
or turn our way reflecting citron eyes.
Tilting its head from side to side,
it seems to be following its nose.
Our windows are rolled up
against the chill, the heater whirrs.
The barbed creature ambles
ahead so unhurriedly
I go back to afternoon,
the dark castle with stag heads
thronging the walls.
Even the stairwells were peopled
with trophies, antlers branched
in such profusion it seemed
the Irish elk might come back.
Our passing flashlights glanced
off suits of armor, gleamed
in the eyes of beasts.
Without our seeing, the animal
before us has merged into the woods.
Donald Levering's most recent poetry book is Whose Body from Sunstone Press. Previous poetry books include The Kingdom of Ignorance (Finishing Line Press), The Fast of Thoth (Pudding House), Horsetail (Woodley Memorial Press), Mister Ubiquity (Pudding House Press), The Jack of Spring (Swamp Press), Carpool (Tellus), and Outcroppings from Navajoland (Navajo Community College Press).