White-tailed deer huff to warn each other,
then leap into fog and disappear. They rise
through my brain, tails lifted, hooves
clattering. This isn’t the season of despair.
In Arkansas silk trees line the banks
of streams. Surely the same moon rises
there. Its silver rinses windows
on the faces of houses. Mist breaks
over peevish, pouchy neighborhood dogs.
Translucent beads of moisture gather
in their fur. God has many names and if I could
get to some shining wheat or grape harvest
in Arkansas, I might say those names,
reverent, even forgiven, lift my midnight cup
of water and breathe the night’s honeyed air.
The musical instrument of Arkansas
is the fiddle, the state vegetable the vine-ripe
pink tomato. The official motto is “The people
rule.” What do I know of limestone caverns,
boiling sulfurous springs, trucks transporting
caged poultry scattering blood on the roads?