When the velvet nubs pushed out from cranium
and un-branched into ossified antler, his human
shadow grew its crown of horn. Tendons quickened.
He wondered at the lightness of his leap, voice mute,
head aching like a blade where the new rack split skull.
He’d simply seen her naked. No intent. No rapine gaze
roving the dusky grove. Just moving down the ravine
home from the hunt then the startle and flash of white
breast emerging from the pool and he found himself
troubled: in every sense of the word. The broad arc of her
arm flung spray from where she bathed, god-charged water
spattering his forehead collarbone skin into dappled hide,
her other arm wrapped around her, hiding nothing. He just
ran: eyes rimmed in white, bashing branches, thrilled at the
air beneath each lunge until one agile ear pivoted and caught
the sound: the shattering cry of his own pack of hounds.
Michael Bazzett has poems forthcoming in Ploughshares, Massachusetts Review, Pleiades, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Prairie Schooner. He is the author of The Imaginary City, recently published in the OW! Arts Chapbook Series.