How He Survives
inspired by Deer Profile Right, Jean and Phillip Earl, Wax-on-muslin rubbing
He watches me from the back of his eye.
At ease – if a wild buck so crowned with antlers
can ever be at ease – he’s caught in profile
for this moment, while the Basque man’s sheep
meditate the day, digesting mountain meadow.
No danger here, not now. Soon he’ll merge
into shadow of the grove and disappear.
Here in the gallery, he hangs as a wax rubbing
long after he and his carver are gone.
Aspen lifespan’s not much longer than a man’s.
Is the buck’s tree still standing?
Or has wildfire consumed its grove?
Wax rubbed on muslin, the buck survives.
See how he watches from the back of his eye.