Nathaniel Perry

In a Friend’s Field

There is an easiness to fields, a feeling
that deer bedded down in the ragweed do not mind
the comfort we take in the grasses’ lines until
the tractor’s almost on them, the crows rise
in a dark air, assured they will need what they might
find. Today, I felt the ease of the dog
as he porpoised through the waist-high grass to chase
a startled fawn. He would have run to Bedford
if I’d let him. But instead I called and called, in panic
yes, but part in awe at the way his muscles
conversed with the dips and rises of the field,
the way he didn’t bark, just ran in the vector
of what was at hand. It was me doing the barking,
the not understanding, and his name rose
from the grass and joined the insects waking
in the brush. When it reached the repetition and pitch
of a crow’s call, when my insistence robbed
his name of meaning, and only syllables
were left to carol through the early air,
only then did the dog, my dog, halt the chase,
watch the deer slip into the fern-lined woods.
He crossed the ragweed back to where I stood
uneasily clapping my hands for his return.