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was all but dry -- its bed silent; clean, round, white
stones, some leaves and dry twigs
lodging between them. The creek wound away from your eye
like a deserted roadway. But at one sharp bend was a pool,
deep and long, crescent-shaped, and clear, despite
the leaves steeping in it that had recently fallen
and now lay stuck to the bottom stones, their colors still fresh:
coming toward that pool once I saw my fi rst kingfi sher,
stationed over it on a twig, watching for frogs;
here the squirrels came to drink, leaping over the creek
from the treetops on the opposite slope into the sycamore
that rose beside the pool. Then they spiralled cautiously down,
I sitting there motionless for maybe an hour before one came --
sitting head back, watching the tree where, a hundred feet
up in the air, its huge branches had ample space
between them, its bright leaves, separate, moving a little
now and then in the October air, the high blue dry air;
through the silence would come an occasional miniature crashing
in the deep leaves up the far slope as a squirrel
rushed over the ground from one tree to another
and I waiting, my .22 across my knees,
watching those white, calmly zigzagging upper branches,
and their yellow leaves, hung balanced in that air.
There was no demon there.
The demon, too, was there.