First published in Modern Haiku XXV:1, Winter–Spring 1994, page 47. Originally written in April of 1993. Also anthologized in Journeys: An Anthology of International Haibun (Hyderabad, India: Nivasini Publishers, 2014), edited by Angelee Deodhar. The first poem, by itself, also appeared in All Ears, anthology of rabbit-related haiku edited by Corine Timmer (Faro, Portugal: Bicadeideias Publishing, 2023).

The tense wind buffets the valley, scrapes between the cliffs at the narrow end, rattles the dry grass between granite boulders around me. Alone, I step along the trail, water bottle thumping against my hip. The coolness of a passing cloud brings a mottled snowshoe hare darting out across the trail. In the sun’s heat that grows against my back again, I bend to inspect the soil.


red dust still setting . . .

my finger blurs

the hare’s faint track


I raise my head at the trill of a junco, and walk between yarrow and the occasional paintbrush toward the vague sound of a creek, tripping and curling through thinly spaced trees. The creek runs low but fills an eddy, where a short brown twig swirls and turns before slipping through small stones. Wedged between a rock and the rough bark of a weathered ponderosa just beyond the bubbling stream, the sagging carcass of a deer lies where it fell. Its yellowed rack twisted awkwardly, the mule deer’s tail is too decayed to catch the dry wind. I reach out and then stop myself from touching the tail’s black tip. A fly buzzes from under the dirt-crusted fur. In a sudden hot gust, I step around to the head of the deer. Hollow bird-pecked eye sockets stare into the still dust at the trunk of the tree.


mid-summer sun—

in the mule deer’s taut hide

a bullet hole


I draw a sharp breath. The smell makes me stiffen and step back, pulling my hands from my pockets. I leap back across the creek and tread the white grasses back to the trail. I quicken my stride upward toward the distant pass. Desert plume yellows the trail edge. In the morning I drive for home. But for now I will follow the tracks of the hare.


fading sunset . . .

the silhouette

of the snowshoe hare