In This Place | Jnana Hodson

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Such slow, deliberate chewing
(a cud)
unperturbed, you’d think,
but be wary.

– – –

“Now, Adelaide, there you go again
being needlessly redundant,”
Robert Nichols interrupted
his wife’s retelling of a family outing
years earlier on the Kancamagus,
after she’s said:

“And a great big daddy moose was blocking the highway
and we all got out of the car to admire him.”

– – –

Years later, I pause on my way to work
and examine new tracks
in the Department of Transportation sandpit,
like others in its snow a month earlier,
straight to the precipice and down steeply.

I still wonder why he did that.

There’s no more food down there
than up here.

– – –

This time of year, juvenile moose
get the boot
to seek out their own territory and mates.

The cows make room for new calves.

A maternal moose will kill a bear
approaching her offspring.

– – –

At twilight, a form dashes from the woods
behind a suburban housing development.
At first, I think an escaped horse is about to dash
onto the highway, but it turns unpredictably back
and I realize I’ve just missed colliding with a moose.

A decade later, sixty miles to the east
at midnight, another darts from the drive-thru lane
at a Dunkin’ Donuts just off the traffic circle.
This time, followed by the blue
flashing lights of a police cruiser.

– – –

So much gangly bulk
high up on stilt legs

and that’s all there is
to it, except for hunting season

or a rack over the door
or fireplace

or the unwitting
collision.

– – –

To be mighty carries its own afflictions
– thousands of ticks, in the case of a moose, aren’t uncommon,
just listen to state Fish & Game officials.

– – –

Out from a marsh or newly sprouting clear-cut forest
at twilight, through the night
make way.

Adelaide Dustin Nichols, 1916-2008, in memoriam

A native Midwesterner, Jnana Hodson has been an editor at daily newspapers in places ranging from Washington state to New England, where he now lives in a former seaport. He blogs at Jnana’s Red Barn.

One comment

  1. Pingback: WITH AN AIR OF GRACE | Jnana's Red Barn

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