From across the pond,
the doe and I regard each other—
she with enormous brown eyes,
me with my hands full of empty.
We take turns pretending
we’re not watching each other,
but we are, aware
of each other’s slightest move.
She goes back to her eating.
I go back to shaking
the dried iris pods
to see if they rattle. They do.
but does not run to the trees,
and I am oddly relieved
as she interests herself again
in the grass spiking out of the snow.
All day a feeling of doom
has settled in me, a heavy, unshakable
dark. It is not that it lessens
because of the doe, but perhaps
it does. She lifts her head
again for something I do not hear or see,
and I, too, tense, before we return
to the fragile moment, this small act
of trusting each other, witnesses
to the cold in the air,
the ice already cured on the pond,
the day losing
whatever color it had left,
the iris seeds spilling
their dark, latent praise
atop the snow.