Joseph Haeberle, Bears’ Ears (Artist Website)
Photograph, Nikon D750

The deer are like popcorn,
she said. You just don’t know
which way they’re gonna jump.
Past the trailhead where
folks with dogs wander young fields
shadowed in another sky down,
down the freshly black-topped road
strung with green lights rallying
SUVs, past the Motor Inn where I slept
under neon lights nestled up
to a fantasy shop, rally—
two pickups halted and angled
nose to nose to the side of the track, a gap
between them, enough to see one stray kernel
flailing on the break’er end of a blacked-out fist,
her neck stretched as though she could
use it to run instead of her softened back legs
pushing stray gravel aside against the weight
of everything warm
between her spring ribs—pop, pop.
That arm dropped faster than she could fold
back onto the cement, no pause
to reconcile the wide-eyed pile that
only wanted to stand in the warm dusk
like the rest of us.

Hillary Berg