My son and I played tennis
right up to twilight at the state park near home.

Smoke moved in from far away wildfires
propelling a haze through the glow of slanted sun

angles spotlighting specific trees
making them glow gold and orange,
placing braided dots across the ground as
bright as the fire itself.

As we drove home, admiring the gloaming,
a mama deer stepped into the road right in front of us,
babe in tow

its speckled back matching the forest floor as
they walked into a red ray of sun
lit up right there like some beautiful mirage of

how this place looked before people.