She wasn’t there when I started playing,
and it’s a song I have not played in a long time
so it requires a little extra concentration from me,
which is why she seems so suddenly just to be —
appearing there in the empty space before
the porch of the shack and looking up
and most of all listening. For deer always listen.
They can hear you lick your lips
fifty yards away, it is said, and I’m reaching
the second time through the chorus now,
which consists mostly of the repeated title,
and “yeah-yeah-yeah.” The thing is,
I’ve slowed the song way down, and I’m finger picking,
not pounding with a pick, and with its couple
of minor chords, it sounds almost like a ballad,
or slow and sad somehow, at least. Even
the yeah-yeah-yeahs I try to work a little extra from.
So, yeah, it occurs to me that, indeed, I am performing
for a deer. And I want her not only to appreciate
the miraculous fact of human music but also of me.
Performing for her, hell. I’m playing
and singing to her, all the while aware —
despite her beauty, her impossibly big brown eyes,
her listening — that it would never work out between us.
It’s a mild day in late autumn. She’s probably pregnant,
I’m older than half the trees around us.
But the look on her face is so intense, so pure
in its regard, that it feels like everything else in the world
has gone to that place everything else in the world goes to
when you are looked at that way, especially
if you’re singing, and the worst thing
that could happen at such a time is for the song to end.
So I keep singing, she loves you, and yeah-yeah-yeah.
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