Our moose showed up like a chunk of wilderness
detached from the flickering October woods,
clopping across the bridge over the ravine,
past the Student Center—a brown piece of nature
puzzle someone lost while lost in thought, so what
remained was an antler-shaped hole in the middle
of our understanding. Moose don't live on this campus
or anywhere near. They live to the east or maybe the west
or south; there may be twelve left here in Wisconsin
or leaving for Michigan or coming back
via Minnesota—who can say? What was he thinking,
a young bull moose loitering outside Wheeler Hall?
Philosophy, Languages, Sociology, History.
Psychology, Chemistry, Biology. He muscled
right by it all, the linebacker shoulders casually
massive in his shiny suit, nostrils huffing
a fog clear to the parking lot at the soccer field,
where his hooves clacked a path between cars.
The scoreboard still read 0-0 after he passed
despite the wild clapping inside us.
When he left, we rushed after him, filming
what we could, into the early dusk, out through
the doors of the mind. He might get the brain worm
that has lately been doing them in. He might go on
to meet another moose. Why did he make us grieve?
He was no polar bear treading water
in the warming seas. Why did he give us
such joy? Wherever he is headed now—Hurley,
North York, the pine barrens, the rocky edge
of the lake, Canada, farther—Moose Was Here.