Along the Temperance River

Ice melt, rage
of spring and

brown branch,
crimson leaf,

hoof and flank,
one dark eye

in the caldron

bobs, turns
in the foaming spume.

I tell myself this too
is beautiful

and horrified
shut my eyes

pray for a hard rain
to raise the water,

release the deer
from its icy purgatory,

send it down
through the gorge

to where the river
widens, slows,

delivers it
into the Great Lake.

—Gillian Nevers