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The Llano River

In a pile of mesquite wreckage in the field
not far above the river, the cotton rat twitches
in its sleep, dreaming of a Sharp-shinned hawk.
At the river bottom, the giant stands
of pecan trees canopy a trampled deer path
which is its own small stream carried away
with her footsteps. The wind moves through
the grass at the bank like three deer, and then
three deer move through the grass like light wind.
They are three does the color of rotten twine,
and they lift their heads when a single mesquite leaf
shakes loose from its tree fluttering as if
it had wanted this long spiraling downward.
Her path leads from the field to the river,
and I have followed with my book in which
none of this appears, not one wooden giant
or a path or a woman I must follow with my book.

This poem originally ran in the October 16, 2006, issue of the magazine.