Image CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0 Steve Rotman on Flickr.com
I’m joining Trina Haase at Trinarrative for a daily haiku challenge in December.
I pass few cars in the sixty miles I drive to work over open prairie, but the highway still sometimes has the feel of an obstacle course. It’s a rare commute that doesn’t require at least one slam of the breaks to avoid deer, turkeys, pronghorn, owls, hawks, eagles, coyotes, rabbits, skunks, occasionally pheasants or porcupines, once elk, and once a badger.
South Dakota is one of the worst states for vehicle-deer collisions, and the shoulders of the road tell the story every morning of drivers who weren’t able to stop or swerve. The pronghorn and the coyotes seem wisest: I frequently see them in the fields but rarely dead by the side of the road. The deer are the worst, or perhaps their numbers are just so much higher that it’s natural they’d be in the roads and hit that much more often. There are often ten or twelve carcasses between my home and my office.
Inspired by Issa’s haiku that directly address animals, I tried a series of haiku addressed to the animals I see on the highway. I braked for a tiny deer and a zippy coyote just this morning.
how quickly you veer
at my approach
how many times
must you cross the road?
gives me time to swerve