Wild Root Charlie
lived on the Cat Path. Employed by the Fish
and Game department to test fences he had
a wife and a fawn and an appetite for cigarettes.
Daddy’d take me after supper bump dusting
down the narrow road and we’d click our tongues
at the turn-around ‘til Charlie’d come nosing
his smooth cool face through the wires diamonds
to tongue my carefully offered carrot and potato
peeling. .I longed for the doe who stood
at the edge of the trees and the tiny face peeking
beneath her flank. Oh, Charlie. One day you leapt
them all, seven fences, barb-wired and rolled,
picketed and spiked, storm and stockade and
electric buzz for some apple orchard in your
dreams. They retired the project. In a decade I’d
wrestle boys at the empty turn-around, their
tobacco mouths hard against my teeth, remember
your beauty and grace and wonder did your doe
still wait out in that darkness for your return.
Just when I'd forgotten to believe
wind lifts leaf and twig and stick
rush of darkness water world
wood trees angry angels
fighting back and rain
is more than lighting
changing earth rock ledge
conversation of power
light and black cloud hold
fool human body pressed
mossbark wet frightened
creature waiting eyes.
Who is dancing?
the voice of snow
Pediatrician Kelley White worked in inner-city Philadelphia and now works in rural New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared in journals including Exquisite Corpse, Rattle and JAMA. Her most recent books are TOXIC ENVIRONMENT (Boston Poet Press) and TWO BIRDS IN FLAME (Beech River Books). She received a 2008 PCA grant.