Buffalo Creek Campground

If I want to see the spirit of God in everything,
I have to see it in this man who is screaming
at his wife at 6 AM while sunlight edges
down the shrubby hills toward our tents.
Get up and fuck are the only real words
I can make out through their camper walls
though I can hear her muffled replies
now and then, I can’t see, I think, and some fucks
of her own. I don’t know why she can’t see—
contacts? Are her glasses broken?—and
my stomach freezes in fear, for her
and for myself for no clear reason except
proximity to violence. And for no clear reason,
when the man walks over hours later
under the now high sun, his shadow invisible,
to ask if his kid can play with our kids,
I say yes. And when he shows up at sunset
with steaks to thank us, we are civil, even friendly,
though our smiles are mostly fake
and the dusk is skittish with breeze.
He grills the meat, which none of us eat.
I talk to his wife. Her face is plump, unbruised.
When to our intense relief they all go home,
it’s dark. It’s easy for me to love in the abstract
but in the night woods while the campfire blazes
my shadow stretches taller than the pines
and it trembles like anyone else’s.

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