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Photograph copyright and courtesy of Alex Davis

The one I saw on the bypass that night –
antlers like a winter oak
as it strode from the roadside –
came again in a dream; keeping
its distance as it does every time.

When I met it for real I kept mine:
a stalled presence
on a stretch without streetlights;
its silhouette held there
before it turned and left.

In the dream, though, I follow –
into fields and meadows
where it spots me, begins to trot,
picks up pace before bolting off.
What if I could get close enough,

look it in those cavernous eyes?
What else could I hope to find
but yours, as all you said
echoes in my mind,
its glare passing through me?

poem by Ben Wilkinson

from For Real (Smith|Doorstop Books, 2014)