Kasey Jueds

Why do I keep coming back

to the places in the field

the deer have hollowed with their sleep?

Now I know there’s a name

for the shape any animal makes against the earth

with its lying, its rest. Almost asleep, I press

my body against nylon stretched

over grass and mud and leaves

and leave my trace beneath

the tent’s fragile house, its husk

of gauze and wind. Higher up

the mountain, the still-bare trees

hold their arms apart to let themselves

be seen; down here where it’s warmer,

new leaves flare, sharply pointed as stars

a child might draw. As a child I loved

this mountain’s name, glimpsed

from time to time on maps like

a flowering branch, a brightness

my body wanted to move toward. Syllables

fitting the shape of a longing I had

no other words for. Like flattened grasses

in the field, fitting themselves to the limbs

of deer, this ground fits me

to itself, tracing my shape against

the shapes of the other breathing

creatures who scuffed and shivered

here: dirt of the page that tells

this mountain’s name, skin of

this evening, this river

dulling its silver, giving away

pieces of its crimped surface

from every space between the trees.


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