A bull moose circles at the edge of my lawn and woods.
His large head tilts oddly, as if he were looking or listening
for answers as to why the wildness has greyed and grown smaller,
why he no longer hungers for green shoots or deep forest paths.
Emaciated, stumbling—I should call a conservation officer
to come destroy this poor animal. Brain worms
have infected his cerebrospinal functions. I still know
this much, recognize the symptoms. Though this morning
I awoke confused, baffled as to where I was. A woman’s face
smiled at the edge of my bed, her head tilted as if
in love, offering me toast and tea. I did not know her.
I remember warm water, finding myself beneath the rain
of a showerhead, a possessive word pressing into my cerebellum
relating to answers I do not wish to possess. There was a time
when I put boots down on the paths leading to wild ponds
and ledges hidden miles away, places of untamed spectacle.
I can no longer see them clearly. The bull moose angrily
strikes his hooves at the soft ground, looking for the enemy.
If they come to shoot him he will charge
as best he can, fearless and heart-pumping
to face off with whatever wishes to paralyze
or end his unsteady gait. His muscles
buckle involuntarily, but he pushes back
into his circling. I am tired, confused
too often, but there’s a trace of me still
that chooses old paths leading to sanctuaries
of night rest, soft depressions of leaves.
I will take an antique rifle, open and close the door,
advance upon the bull moose, we will see
what final nourishment might offer itself
to the virile fragments that can remember who we are.
Scott Hutchinson’s work has appeared in The Georgia Review and The Southern Review. Poems are forthcoming in Appalachian Heritage, Floyd County Moonshine, ConchoRiver Review, Louisiana Literature, The Naugatuck River Review, Red Dirt Forum,Steam Ticket and Tar River Poetry. A new book of poetry, Moonshine Narratives, is available from Main Street Rag Publishing