I have just settled in with a blanket,
cat on my lap,
book of poetry in my hand,
when I hear the bells ring.

Four Tibetan brass bells,
bought at a yard sale,
etched with intricate designs,
strung on a sturdy green cord,
that I hung on the small plumeria tree
in a pot by my writing room door.

I read somewhere that deer skitter
when they hear wind chimes,
and this was the closest I had.
The tree we have tended from a cutting,
lovingly moving it to larger
and larger containers.
Recently placed in a new planter,
it is being eaten alive.

Already I had given up
the roses in front,
the blue-flowered hedge,
the agaves, whose petals
have mouth-sized bites taken
from their tips.

This time, they’ve gone too far;
the plumeria was perfect–
dark green leaves,
now a third eaten,
long, thin purple buds
opening into white blossoms
with yellow centers
that perfume our doorway.
Or should I say, used to perfume.

I run to the window to look.
There he stands chomping away
in broad daylight,
no shame at all,
his sweet feast accompanied
by the chiming of bells.

:: Carolyn Chilton Casas