Restraining Order

 Michelle Perez


Ears twitched back, front legs hesitant,

hooves in brackish water—

for more than an hour,

I must have watched

the young buck camouflaged

into a brown deeper than

the surrounding ‘Glades sawgrass.


A close snap caught my attention first.

Climbing the deck, I scanned

the largess of park, squinted into a fist

of heat before spotting the white tuft,

then his neck, curved and taut

as he stretched to feed.


When he bent, I bowed to one knee,

half crawling, brought to the edge

of that lookout platform.


Only then could my lung beat touch

eye lashes long, glossy nubs of horn,

chest and ribs, strong articulate spine–

thighs tense as I leaned against

the firm railing, the smell of rain

pelting the horizon.


When he wandered from my sight,

I listened, found him drinking,

his rough torso half hidden in bushes.


Life gave him whatever he sought.

And, in the lightning-splintered distance

time gave swift warning

as cloud slammed into cloud.


Go, the wind said, Go.

But I could not leave him.


Michelle Perez headshot

Michelle Perez lived in Miami and South Florida for a number of years. She was a James Michener Fellow in the University of Miami creative writing program. Her poems have appeared in the Los Angeles Review, Kalliope and, most recently, in the ViêtNow National Magazine. She currently lives in New Jersey.




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