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