………………….For Tom Proutt
In my latest unsuccessful hunt for the unicorn
of the woods, I found a two-point buck skull,
a square of soapstone, a 1952 Mennen bottle,
and a foxhole. Lots of fiddleheads, lots of May
apples, and an ant floating in a pool of water in
a leaf. A snail slugged its way across the duff
as birds and squirrels sang and chittered in the branches
above. The dog ran chasing sticks and splashing
through the creek bed. I think I may have discovered
a spring, but I am not certain: water bubbling up
through the ground, stretching to the creek below.
Friends I sat with around a fire said you cannot
force it. One time you will look down and see
one. I keep thinking I see one, only wishing it there.
My wife’s father, a minister, said once:
We weren’t put on this earth to be happy.
I’m sitting at the library, reading an article
about Jack White in Rolling Stone,
avoiding much neglected work
and contemplating my newly hatched
separation. White wonders why he never
asks an audience if they are having fun.
Is that really why we’re here?
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