In the Stifling Heat

Across the road from the company a large field descends to a bank that rises to the freeway and in the corner below the cloverleaf a little green marsh with cattails stands in wildness isolated by the expanse of plowed field chain-link fence, busy road buildings of companies whose business concerns neither nature nor season, a freeway scorched with cars and trucks that pass in an ignorance that gathers like litter wherever no one owns it—lacking belonging having other things to notice— At the top of the field a heavy yellow earth mover waits to shape the grounds of a luxury hotel— After lunch I run across the road jump the fence and walk cautiously across the broken dirt along the edge of its greenness wondering what survives in its small thickness until—startling—a doe with a fawn in the heat between the fence and the freeway trot away through thin straw dried nettles and burrs into the dark of bushes clinging to the bank the fawn first and the doe watching from the distance on the edge of the bush the edge of the freeway the edge of fear thinking I might have frightened them into an oncoming car the doe flicking her tail, her eyes over her flanks, watching me as I inspect the places where they had lain on both sides of the fence, and what had drawn them into this hedge of threat— a trickle seeping from the marsh into a cement conduit— As I walk back I peer out for them and wish I could always see them there— but then a fawn has panicked unable in fear to jump the fence running back and forth