The Clearing
Will Harris
After almost seven years apart, not
much different from what he tracks, now, through
half-foot snow. Not yet the desperation,
but snow coming on, and the muffled quiet
of no prey. But most of all, the serene
aura, no wind, temperature dropping fast
enough to feel it, the white now closing
sight not far ahead. Then the gray space carved
by a grove of overhanging trees, and
his leaning into its welcome clearing.
He steps into the triangular pole
of the flake-specked circle, a coyote
and young buck with felt still covering his
nubby antlers completing the figure,
both startled from the other's gaze by his
appearance. The buck half bows its head,
one coyote jowl exposes teeth, and he
grips his rifle, orders his shots, thinking
one, or both. Coyote settles on its 
haunches. Feeling foolish, he sits down, too.
Finally, the deer squats. One another,
at first, then trees, then the blanket beyond
they almost lost themselves in. When he wakes
coyote and buck are standing, watching
him stumble to his feet. Coyote turns,
then deer. And he knows he has turned, must turn,
from the clearing onto his covered tracks.
Will Harris's articles and poems are forthcoming or have been published in African American ReviewCollege Language Association JournalColorado-North ReviewEleventh MuseMELUSNEBULAVoices in English (United Arab Emirates), Wascana Review, and The Zora Neale Hurston Forum. He currently teaches English literature and resides in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. 

more by Will Harris:
Season of Drought