At night deer the color of fog
drift on the slow-bending hills
behind my house. Their eyes, green,
luminous, shine against
whatever light reaches them.
If there is another world,
it is this one, filled
with creatures whose bodies
we can’t touch, who resist
all our sweet lures. They know
where they are and remain
while we, less sure, call
after the promise of difference
that dangles from every new life.
The sky, we praise always. The bones, never.
The plains and deep mountains sketched glories
we were told to worship. Never the crow.
Never the trickster beast. The eagle would
be our talisman. All written for us.
We could ignore the death songs bodies must
give in tribute to our circle of flesh.
The dirt, the grass, all earth was ours to take.
This was the myth that seasoned us. Rivers,
trees, coal would be infinite forever.
We could laugh at those who thought such things holy.
Whatever we restored would be reborn
as we secretly thought we would be.
Possibility would remain endless
for hands made to receive and shape the sky.
Al Maginnes is the author of seven collections of poetry, most recently The Next Place (IrisPress) and Sleeping Through the Graveyard Shift (Third Lung Press). New or recent poems appear in North American Review, Shenandoah, San Pedro River Review and others. He is the music editor of the online journal Connotation. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina and teaches at Wake Technical Community College.