It is quiet here
in the woods
in the autumn
in the clearing.
I am sitting
on the forest floor of
drab crinkly leaves.
No gold, red or orange left,
only the crackling sound
and fragrance of delightful decay.
Your coat is nut brown like the leaves.
So strange to be so close,
My hands upon you, one
at your neck, one
at your chest,
fingers in your fur.
And you are letting me listen,
my ear against your warm flank,
straining to hear the fast thump of your feral heart.
You stand watchful in the clearing,
for a moment not considering the men
and their guns,
letting me love your very breathing.
*I wrote these words during a writing workshop I was leading, and have simply broken the prose apart into a poem and tweaked one or two things. The photo that served as the writing prompt pictured a young woman sitting on the ground with her arms around a standing deer’s neck. I don’t have permission to post that image here, though if you follow this link you’ll see the image by photographer Tom Chambers. The image I’ve used instead is from Unsplash.com (where you can view and download striking photos for free) and is the work of Silvio Kundt.