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Three teen deer have begun of late
to make daily dusk-time stops out back,
their flat flanks and thick, angled necks
depicting stumps and trunks that then
move and materialize and re-blend
as their busy muzzles forage-and-
freeze them across the far lawn. How
ever inventive their camouflage. Though
once I look up, so do they, slightly
white faces and twice-twitching ears
alert to any budge. And if I stand,
even gradually as a yogi, they hop
and spin and crash backward into
slits that open in the brush and oaks
that just as quickly close behind them.
I’m showing you nothing you don’t
know, and know you also know that
doesn’t matter, that you, too, would stop,
lift your face, and love them every time.

Photo by Ville Palmu on Unsplash

D.R. James

D. R. James lives in the woods outside Saugatuck, Michigan, and has recently retired from Hope College after 37 years of teaching writing, literature, and peace studies. His most recent of ten collections is Mobius Trip (Dos Madres Press, 2021).


  • Mark Hiskes says:

    David, I love this poem. It captures exactly what it’s like to spot a deer, a fox, or any other wild woodland creature for a fleeting, magical moment. And, no, it never, ever grows old. Thank you for recreating this and for uniting us–at a time when we need it desperately–in this simple human moment we can all affirm and simply say “yes” to.

  • Jack Ridl says:

    D.R. James’s poems bring music out of language and that music can’t be separated from the ways his poetry create a sacred humility. Thank you

  • Fred Wind says:

    I appreciate your poetry. Thanks!