I Left for Quieter Country
Beneath an arc of fluorescents, 
on a cold, concrete island, I let anger bite 
the fleas from my memory and hate them 
for the taste of their indiscretion. 
I breathe out. I breathe in deeply. 
I let the gasoline fumes sedate me. 

Across the road a buck steps up from a gully. 
Snorting, he sets his hoofs against blacktop 
and begins coming across. Behind him, I can see 
white melons growing from the fog. 

It might be my imagination, 
but there’s a bouquet of steam 
and blood blossoming 
from the buck’s nostrils 
as he’s struck down against the road. 
The truck rolls on, into the fog again, 
its brutal horn decaying. 

The buck lies splayed across the lines 
like a fallen dancer. My mouth 
tastes like gravel as he struggles to stand. 
His muzzle is smeared 
red; his antlers are unbroken. 

He wobbles then bolts 
across the road into blobs of mist. 
From the firs poised just beyond 
the light, crows rise with surly voices 
to bite at the wafer of the moon. 

I’m startled by the clunk 
of the halting pump, and then the only sound 
left is an orchestra of crickets. 

Somewhere among the trees, 
a buck settles on a cushion 
of rusting pine needles 
meaning anything.

JONATHAN TREECE is an award-winning editor, poet, and playwright. His poetry has been published in The Axe FactoryAvatar ReviewBackbone Mountain Review, and elsewhere. He recently finished a painting and poetry collaboration that examined the demise of a small, rural town titled “The Piedmont Project”. He lives in Cumberland, MD with his wife.

The Adirondack Review
FALL 2016