A fawn glides across the road in front of me & I freeze,
caught. On foot, I’m on my way to 14th & Wilson,
& the spur which will take me to the Interurban trail
& home. I don’t expect deer. A second & a third cross—
more quickly—& then a doe appears. After urging them
across the road she follows, stately & attentive. The doe
sees me & stops at midpoint of pavement; her ears pivot
toward me, soft pools of her eyes take me in, evaluate.
Go ahead, I urge quietly. I’m not a threat. I have a bag
of groceries, today largely vegetables & no meat. I hunt,
but only with my eyes & a camera. I want only to ask
her how she led three fawns here through labyrinths
of human habitations & traffic. Whether they’ve picked
their way along the creek or across it, they are here—
sudden & real—& slip through a side yard up from
Padden Creek & now into a vacant lot surrounded by
buildings & pavement. I ease forward slowly, fearing that
moving too quickly will spook them on to the Parkway
into traffic. Passing remnants of a shed, I see them: the doe
& a fawn watch me intently, the other two forage urgently.
I stop again & watch, basking in the intersection of wildlife
& the landscape of what is now my city. With thoughts
of in-fill, development, & other hazards, I leave the deer
to forage, move forward cautiously, caught in deer light.
Andrew Shattuck McBride
September 18, 2012
This is an older poem of mine from 2009, re-worked.