SUMMER OF THE MOOSE

by Marilyn Darley Williams

Summer evenings, at dusk,
moose are found in the marshes
north of the cabin.
They stand neck-high in water,
their pendulous heads submerged,
all but those mule-like ears,
twitching above the surface
like radar scanners.
Up with the heads! Throwing
water and moss, racks draped
with sedges, mouths chewing
water lilies like cud.

We heard how a bear came upon
a cow with her calf
at the crossroads. The moose,
ears laid back, mane erect,
charged into battle,
her slashing hooves bringing
death.

One night a bull moose,
antlers three arms wide,
blindly stumbled into the garden.
From the screened porch,
we watched in horror
as the giant bull crumpled
in a patch of purple flax.
Massive head jerking,
his wait cut through the stillness
like a scythe. Moose sickness.

A tiny worm, the size of a hair,
digested with marsh weeds
had worked its way to the brain.
A shot from Father’s gun
robbed the parasite
of victory.

Summer evenings at dusk,
moose are found in the marshes
north of the cabin.
They stand neck-high in water,
foraging lilies and eelgrass,
antlers draped with sedges
and innocence.


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