I always marvel at how big a white-tailed deer can get. See one from a distance, browsing an open field or giving you the quick evil eye before disappearing into the trees in the woods, and you know they aren't petite creatures. But you can't get a sense of their actual size until you're right up on top of one, or three, say three, a foot away from your front bumper in the middle of a dark country road at one in the morning after they've wandered out into your path and jacklighted themselves in your oncoming headlights and caused you to burn out your brake linings in order to stop just in time to avoid filling your front grille and possibly front seat and lap with venison.
After they got it into their heads that neither they nor I wanted to spend the night admiring each other through my windshield and finished crossing the road, in no great hurry, and my heart started pumping again, I remembered one of my favorite poems. It's by Thomas Lux. Lux is my second-favorite living American poet. My first favorite is this guy. It's about a moose-car encounter but it's still apropos, I think. It's called "Wife Hits Moose."
Sometime around dusk moose lifts
his heavy, primordial jaw, dripping, from pondwater
and, without psychic struggle,
decides the day, for him, is done: time
to go somewhere else. Meanwhile, wife
drives one of those roads that cut straight north,
a highway dividing the forests
not yet fat enough for the paper companies.
This time of year full dark falls
about eight o'clock -- pineforest and blacktop
blend. Moose reaches road, fails
to look both ways, steps
deliberately, ponderously . . . Wife
hits moose, hard,
at slight angle (brakes slammed, car
spinning) and moose rolls over hood, antlers --
as if diamond-tipped -- scratch windshield, car
damaged: rib of moose imprint
on fender, hoof shatters headlight.
Annoyed moose lands on feet and walks away.
Wife is shaken, unhurt, amazed.
-- Does moose believe in a Supreme Intelligence?
Speaker does not know.
-- Does wife believe in a Supreme Intelligence?
Speaker assumes as much: spiritual intimacies
being between the spirit and the human.
Does speaker believe in a Supreme Intelligence?
Yes. Thank You.
----from New and Selected Poems