She sat calmly on the neighbors’ porch
after two feet of snow. That was enough
to bring the whole street outdoors.
We’d glimpse her in the secret
of her own pursuits—a smudge of rust
at the wood’s edge. Now she sat there,
so much more intimate than myth—
almost too small to be real.
No evidence of cunning, as though
she would gladly come inside
out of February’s storm. Stand back,
we said, don’t let the pets out.
Make sure the children stay away.
Police were summoned. Fish
and Wildlife was besieged with calls;
soft hairs bristled on our necks.
Before she left, she paused in front of me;
full coat soft russet, legs delicate,
black-stockinged. She stood inside a distance
my body had been taught to keep,
squinting at me, neither offering nor asking—
then trotting down the path a neighbor
had dug to come see for himself—disappeared
in the snow’s deep before officials came.
poem by Scudder Parker
The Corinne Eastman Davis Award and the Arthur Wallace Peach Memorial Award are given for the best poem in the current issue of The Mountain Troubadour.