In the last week of June, the buck stood between rain-darkened oaks,
new antlers shoving up between his ears, two fuzzy stubs that signified
a change. We’d both lived through summer solstice’s terrible eternity,
when light nearly banished night. Now, our hemisphere grows less
garish as the equinox approaches. Until then, his crown will grow heavier
in summer’s heat. I cannot imagine his burdens, and he cannot imagine
mine, but I hope to see him in another great rain, raising his muzzle
to drink, letting the waters stream over his eyes and over his antlers,
and I hope to see him after winter solstice, when he’s shed
his antlers and carries only the flat, bloodied pedicles they leave.
May we both change. May we both have delusions of weightlessness.
May we both believe we’ve set our burdens down for good.
Michele Sharpe, a poet and essayist, is also a high school dropout, hepatitis C survivor, adoptee, and former trial attorney. Her essays appear in venues including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Poets & Writers. Poems are recently published or forthcoming in Sweet, The Mom Egg Review, Rogue Agent, and Salamander. She lives in North Florida.