Retro Poem #12: Creek Bed Creatures

[I wrote this poem in 1999, while walking a trail along a creek in Olathe, KS.]


I see a doe and her fawns
In a creek bed in a small wooded area
In the middle of town.
These woods creatures
Are meant to have the forest as their kingdom.
Instead the are relegated here
To the refuge of the creek bed.
A house on one side
And a paved walking trail on the other,
Yet their little enclave here
Is a snapshot of nature.
They bed in the leaves
While two squirrels dance and scurry about
Looking for acorns or something interesting.
Right here we have the Nature Channel
Live, in action, in Olathe.
Two of the watch me
Preparing to escape if necessary.
I don’t move;
Neither do they.
The squirrels continue in their dancing work.
The oldest fawn stands.
It is old;
It is tall, and it has lost it’s spots.
I still don’t move.
I have stayed too long.
The other two rise.
They begin their retreat;
I continue on my way.

What is it in this world
That changes kingdom creatures
Into creek bed creatures?
Is it the same thing 
That has littered this creek bed 
With trash and plastic debris?
These beautiful creatures have been forced out.
Their kingdom has been conquered
By the expansion of man,
By our growing population,
By our houses with big yards.

I am grateful to see these creek bed creatures
And their five minutes of nature,
For I fear
There aren’t many creek beds left.