A deer is waiting for me near the fence.
She stands behind the fence. She is close to the stream.
The stream is mostly clean, except for the occasional
plastic bag. She looks at me through the fence.
I feel I am the deer, sitting in my office
wanting to be elsewhere today.
Dreaming of open skies and blue mountains.
The deer is waiting for me next to a tall bush
by the apartment complex where a cluster of Indians live.
Mothers in saris pick up children from the school bus-
what must it be like for so many Indians to live next to one another
for their children to live close by, for grandmothers to sit on porches
and water orange marigolds.
I walk closer, only she gallops away. I have been deceived.
The deer is no longer waiting but fleeing. I resume my walk
underneath the trees- the leaves are cherry and rust
and yellow-gold. The light refracts through the leaves. In fall, we shed.
The deer is waiting for me when I return from the bend.
I want to pet her. I have been warned that she is skitterish and bears ticks.
She has crossed the sidewalk.
She looks bewildered at the children catching the school bus.
There did not used to be so many Indians, a colleague says,
when I lived here twenty years ago.
It is not a lament but an observation. He too is bewildered by change.
I stand close to the deer. She is taller than I imagined.
She has such slender legs.