We were looking for deer on Sanhedrin.
You told me to take a stand at the tree line,
said you’d walk the draw,
said you’d see me up top in an hour.

Three hours later a bear walked right by. I could have
touched him, was just an odd stone to his eyes.
Then the wind changed and he ran like hell.

I headed down at dusk, found you
already at camp and your face was wrong.
Son, you said, I can’t feel my arm.


My dorm room a week later.
Some tenor rants. Mom will call
when it ends. Someone breaks
a bottle someone yells

and it’s never worked before but I try again,
willing the future: from where we stand
above the tree line, the storm

thrashing the valley is a silent thing of gossamer
or gauze, and of course your scar is still
bright red, of course still warm to the touch.

Roy Kesey’s latest books include the short story collection Any Deadly Thing and the novel Pacazo. His work has appeared in more than a hundred magazines and anthologies, including Best American Short Stories and New Sudden Fiction.

Artwork for this poem was produced by Jennika Bastian in collaboration with Ryan Cain.