Driving home, I spot that same young buck.
He lifts his rack sharply, sniffs at the tick
of our engine turning off. As a spiked yearling,
then a forked horn, he'd study us, exalt
his profile for approval before he bounded
to woods below our house. But he's grown
used to our irrelevant scent. As we go inside,
he picks up one insouciant hoof, and strolls
down the slope he's made his own.
Back from your first day of high school,
you drape your windbreaker on the door,
stop to sniff out spaghetti on the stove.
I admire your profile in that instant --
the high bridge of your father's nose, the jut
of my father's jaw -- before you bolt upstairs.
Each doorknob wears one of your jackets
hooked by the collar, poised for the split second
you choose to leap to the edge of the trees.
Susan Cohen lives in Berkeley, California, where she is a journalist. Her
poems have appeared in Poetry International, Poet Lore, Puerto del Sol, the
Seattle Review, Tar River Poetry, and other journals. In 2005, Unfinished
Monument Press published her chapbook, "Backstroking", which won the