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John Noland

Oregon

John Noland lives among sea lions and cormorants, big trees and beaches, black oystercatchers and elk on Oregon’s south coast. He has published 5 poetry chapbooks, poetry and essays in many literary and nature magazines, including Orion Nature Quarterly, Portland Review, Chicago Review, Laurel Review and Coyote Journal.

Deer at Millicoma Marsh 
John Noland

In silence
so absolute it stuns
the senses, he appears
in the walking path,
a young blacktail deer
a buck. His forked antlers
like tree branches
covered with moss,
his eyes black,
obsidian-sharp,
he stares at me,
his body rippling
in the twilight.
I would touch him
if I could, ask him
what secret places
in the earth he knows
and has taken up inside himself
to make him alive
in such a bright way,
but I do not speak
such language
and am left

‚Äčwith only
the voice of eyes
exchanging, from deep
within ourselves, the world
that echoes in each of us
familiar,
foreign
Then he walks
into the far willows
and creates
an emptiness
like a niche
in a church
where the icon
has been stolen
leaving only memories
and possibilities
of God
behind.