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David Allen Evans


The first thing moving in the backyard
is a squirrel and its lively tail along
the top of a wooden fence, up, over
and down four pointed posts, dropping
off the end into the snowy yard
to follow and be followed by its own
and other squirrels’ tracks all the way
to the ash, and the fresh piece of corn
stuck on the nail of the feeder. 

More or less sitting in a bolted-on,
anthropomorphic chair, it begins
to chew, first from the bottom up,
then from the top down—vigilant
from both sides of its head—until
another squirrel appears from above
and chases it deep into the yard,
the loser’s tail flicking back
apparently benign insults. 

In the frozen garden, the two
flamingoes are still staring
at the bulging, barely-emergent
eyes of a stone toad
in a snow-filled bird bath.
A slight wind is stirring the pines
and the few ragged leaves left on
the apple tree. Slowly, the blue
in the sky is brightening as it
rises higher and higher.




(Watching Animal Planet
In high definition,
somewhere in the snows
of the north, a deer
has fallen on a frozen
lake and lies on
its side, spent from
trying to stand up. 

A helicopter— with
a photographer
inside its glass
brain case—drops
a few hundred feet
for close-ups,
the blades’ alien
wind powdering in
the deer’s fur,
making it thrash
frantically . . .
it must feel itself
moving, pushed by
an airborne predator . . . 

the helicopter
turns and retreats . . .
swings around,
approaches again,
this time closer,
shoving the deer,
inadvertently, into
an opening in the ice . . .
retreats once more,
the clattering wind
diminishing . . . 

barely moving
in the numbing water,
yet holding its head
erect, the deer
clambers up
onto the ice
on feet not meant
for ice, then falls
just as the helicopter ,
with precise timing,
sweeps down
and pushes again,
steering with its
wind—as if machine
and animal were
tethered to each other
by an invisible, rigid
cable—and just as
they’re about to
reach land the one
lifts, stops in the
air, and waits
above the shoreline,
leaving the other
in a heap, but with
a front hoof
touching land. 

Inside a man-made
minute the deer is
bounding into a stand
of aspen and pine.




My father made it,
my younger brother made it,
my son made it,
two grandsons made it. 

But at 18 my National Guard
picture on my ID card
shows five eleven and a half.
What a laugh. 

And one more laugh: at 69,
I’m a cool five nine.