Sleight of Hand
Six, maybe seven, small deer;
careful, silent, almost a reverence
rising from the sandy bank of the stream.
They cross the trail before me, then disappear
into thinning November woods. I search
the emptiness into which they are gone
for any hint of where they might be,
and wonder why so much of how I seek
is standing by silent water
waiting for wreckage to wash ashore,
so much of what I keep
is loose change memory carried deep
in denim pockets.
I grow tired of this trickery,
this game of picking a card, any card
just to see it shuffled, vanished,
So I keep down my head, prayer-like,
eyes to the ground,
attention to my own returning
and finding ways back;
lost from the moment,
from any notion of newness;
this innocence lifted before me.
I carry you into dark rising tide
(Why must it always be night?)
with the purpose, the given intent
to bear you into stillness.
I feel your weight in my aging arms
and remember our bodies, long ago,
though this is not that dream.
Then I’m awakened by Jesus
and his words we will be given no more,
me and you, each of us,
past the waves now, in water
calm, unstirring, closing quietly
over our heads.
David Dixon is a physician, poet, and musician who lives and practices in the foothills of North Carolina. His poetry has appeared in Rock & Sling, The Northern Virginia Review, Connecticut River Review, Flying South, Sand Hills Literary Review, and elsewhere. His first book of poetry "The Scattering of Saints" is forthcoming.