National Poetry Commendation, 2003
a fter David Lynch
When Alvin encounters her
on the road, she's just run over
her thirtieth deer and is crying out
across the ravaged plains
where the gentle beasts spring
out of nowhere.
Will he lay his hand on her sleeve,
boil a kettle he takes from his trailer?
And as he hands her the strong, sweet tea,
offer a tale or rumination to summon
the genius of solace, bring an end
to the deathfest stalking her trail
although she blows her horn
along that stretch of tarmac,
slows right down?
And at that moment as she drives out of view,
does she sense the fragile and sinuous
connections which sometimes
take the shape of a deer
listening at the shadowy edge?
And that for every collision in the landscape,
every dislocation and burden of grief,
there' s a magic property in words
which can tilt the earth
in just such a way that man, woman,
deer may let the other pass like tremors
of light, breaking through the surface.
But he looks around him
at the drained fields, where a single tree
stands blasted of leaves,
can find no sense to string
an honest meaning.
Under the stars that night
he barbecues succulent deer
in its crisp juice. And the silence
pours unction on his soul:
the woman continues
as a magnet to the creatures
who fall under her wheels,
like figments of an impossible language.
Linda Rose Parkes
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