At the fork,

two miles up from the trailhead

where you can continue to


circumnavigate the mountain

or take the path to the summit,

I saw them and they made me


pause, as the antlered buck

crashed through the deadfall

caught in the lower story


saplings, front legs tucked,

keeping his head horizontal to

the ground, back legs thrusting


in order to clear the way

for the pregnant doe behind him,

who also displayed her own


strength just by keeping up

with the buck, the two of them

at one with each other and in


their beauty by being just who

they were, and they’re not even

noticing me standing to the side


of the screed washout dug deep

after the heavy autumn rains, but

they kept at it, crossing the low


ridge, until they were out

of sight, allowing me to witness

the revelation of their mystery.