Just at dawn, a doe with two fawns
crosses beside the lake between tall pines
and rambling, unmanicured azaleas,
the creatures’ graceful forms silvered
by the horizon’s first glowing as they
footprint the white sand spongy with wet.
Their moist noses rise to the air,
scented with sweet camellia,
and at a premonition perceptible only
to themselves, the deer dart across
a tire-hardened dirt track and into
the evergreen woods. As the animals
veer westward, the pines shrink, thin,
and brown, until the trio emerges
onto an open field, the view of their
arrival framed by the redbuds
etched onto its periphery.
Their dancing hooves stir dust
lofted by a crosswind before it
resettles to the ground as they look
for a place to shelter themselves
from the threatening exposure
of high noon’s harsh, hot light.
T. Allen Culpepper