Chickasaw National Wildlife Refuge
We come– weekend campers
fleeing city walls – to these protected borders
that shelter remnants of the land’s wildlife,
while the people who lend their name
to this sequestered property
are sheltered only miles away.
In early morning hours, just emerging,
crusty-eyed from our tents,
a herd of buffalo rushes through our campsite.
I stand transfixed and feel
as though my bones and lungs must be crushed;
and long after they have passed,
my eardrums still reverberate
from pounding hooves,
and I sense that our skinny tent stakes
have shallow claim on this land.
-- Jamie S. Crouse