The Clearing

I was born prey
and quickly learned
the art of hiding
in plain sight:
pleasing manners, modest appetites,
competence and silence.

Nervous in the sunlight
shy by the moon
looked at, never seen.
What would it be like
to not take cover,
to stand on the living earth
unafraid?

Listen to me. Listen,
with your keen curving ears:
The fear is so much worse than the pain.

When the hunter comes,
do not let your beating heart overwhelm you.
Feel the blood within you feeding
your hands, your hooves.

You may choose to stay and
claim the clearing.