By Anne Whitehouse
Before we knew what we heard,
The deep groan woke us in bed,
A cry of outrage so vast
We couldn’t imagine what made it.
The rumble reverberated like thunder;
We clung to each other, afraid.
We heard it again and again.
We peered out as if under siege.
There in the stream was the stag,
And there, on the bank, the coyote
Worrying the stag’s brown-and-white tail
To and fro like a fish in its mouth.
The stag now had grown silent,
Blood streamed from the hole in its rump.
Its antlers were fuzz-tipped and green,
Its large eyes liquid and brown.
The coyote glimpsed us through glass
And fled with the tail in its teeth.
The stag gingerly tested its weight;
Its left foreleg was lame.
In tall grass it lay on the bank,
But fear soon forced it to move.
We watched it limp slowly from sight,
Its life helplessly slipping away.
Anne Whitehouse is the author of three collections of poetry: The Surveyor's Hand, Blessings and Curses, and Bear in Mind, and a novel, Fall Love. Her poetry, short stories, essays, reviews, and articles have been widely published. She is a graduate of Harvard and Columbia. Please visit her website, www.annewhitehouse.com.