Rust-stained but clear in the morning light,
the brook fell into the lake, a string
of deer bones paying from its mouth;
jaw bones algaed, vertebrae sowed
among the cobbles, they lay beyond
the shadows of our fishing poles
and false hellebore that lined the bank.
We named the stream “Deer’s Peace”
in our awkward schoolboy Latin;
and if the world smiled with its bright eye
at this ingenuous burlesque, our parody
of grown-up sanctity, then we ignored
how many mornings it had stared
unmoved upon that deer and worse,
from a pretense of innocence,
and that same jaded socket.