THE HEIFER

Once,  on a morning yellow and cold,
I walked by a brook through an overgrown wood
where heifers grazed.  Wary they followed.
I walked with care around their curiosity.

I stopped by the brook on a flat gray stone.
The heifers startled, blundered away.
Had I been careless of their tenderness?
The beech trees trembled their amber leaves.

The heifers startled, blundered away;
I wondered if I’d done some harm.
Beeches stood with amber leaves trembling,
pine branches, hemlocks flickered in the sun.

I’d not meant them harm.  I was turning to go
when one Jersey fawn returned alone
through pines and hemlocks flickering the sun–
her cloved feet pattered softly on the stone.

I stood as silent as the heifer there, alone.
She cocked her head in quizzical solemnity,
standing still as I on the old gray stone.
Her eyes were deep and questing, unafraid.

She cocked her head with curiosity,
then kicked her heels and ran back through the trees.
She frisked away, not at all afraid of me,
on that cold and yellow morning, long ago.

January 17, 2006

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