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Antelope, a poem by Keith Welch

by Keith Welch

The big sign said "Missile Range-- 
Call this number before crossing"
Bob and I were lost on miles of 
pitch dark New Mexican dirt road

making good time, we caught up with a 
panicked antelope, leaping like a dancer
in our auto-footlights

the animal must have leapt the roadside fence
we became its chase-car in a desert marathon

both car and animal trapped in a single barb-wire path;
the antelope bounding all terror and grace
the car creeping along, my eye on the gas gauge 

our little parade crawled for miles until
the beast lunged into the barbed wire
thrashing like a hooked trout
broke through into the unseen landscape
leaving us the empty track

somewhere under the unblinking stars
the antelope ran unhindered
wounded but free
beyond human borders

Keith Welch lives in Bloomington, Indiana, where he works at the IU Herman B Wells Library. He has poems published in Open: Journal of Arts & Letters, Writers Resist, Literary Orphans, and Dime Show Review. He enjoys meeting other writers and invites you to follow him on Twitter @Outraged_Poet.