Tonight a long-lobed oak leaf
blows, curled, across the ground.

For a moment it appears
an antler from the smallest deer
that ever grazed at dusk.

Its weight is the memory of
a time when deer were very small—

an era found inside of this one
as surely as my body’s found.

My body having always been,
the antler walks along
the wind just where it touches:

part of the prehistoric deer’s
migration, one antler standing
for the entire animal, the whole herd,

the spell of a time that seems, for now,
never to have ended. The antler’s
forking makes a fossil

dating back to last November,
frail as any hoof cleaving soil.

Thing is, the leaf is not an antler,
and there’s no one to say
the wind that makes it walk
knows hunger, or a body, or extinction.