Tidal Basin

Germination Detail Part III, by Leslie Shellow

contemplations about what stays in the net

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Deer Hunter

What part of nature is my dog? He has just chased a deer; and I sit and wait for him on the bank of the small trickle called Rock Creek. I sit across from the deer he did not see; a teenager it looks like; unstartled by the commotion of the predator/prey relationship. Urbanized, perhaps even listening to an i-pod, he is crunching through small tufts of grass on the other bank of the skinny stream and looking at me sideways.

Your mother? I ask. He seems unburdened by her flight.

In the distance, I hear my animal backtracking toward me. I glance at the youth. You'd better go now, I whisper. He munches sideways. Light green spittle forms on his lips and drips to the soil. My warrior can be seen trekking the ridge, looking left then right. I know he is not looking for me. His nose is angled skyward and is jerked around by scents I do not smell. He sees me in his periphery. I know this because he acts like he doesn't.

He doesn't see the young deer either, who could care less anyway. Go, I urge. The teen is grinding his grass to a pulp. Well, if you're going to stay, let me get a look at you: you're all legs and squarebody, like a piece of furniture. You don't do a good job of blending in with the verticality of this place.

I hear him snort. He looks over his shoulder; then at me. In a gesture like a watercolor, he blends off the page.

The crashing warrior is seen leaping over logs and tearing through criss-crossing branches. He dumps himself with gusto down the side of the hill with me as his aim. He is doe-colored. He is smiling. He is next to me, nudging. He leaves me for a moment and walks into the stream. He laps the film of water that barely covers the stones. He laps the stones. He stands on the other bank. His smile foams. He drips saliva and stream-water on a puddle of green liquid grass that pools under his paws on the rich, brown soil. He smiles at his own nature.

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