Posts Tagged ‘deer’

A Brief Détente




From across the pond,

the doe and I regard each other—

she with enormous brown eyes,


me with my hands full of empty.

We take turns pretending

we’re not watching each other,


but we are, aware

of each other’s slightest move.

She goes back to her eating.


I go back to shaking

the dried iris pods

to see if they rattle. They do.


She startles,

but does not run to the trees,

and I am oddly relieved


as she interests herself again

in the grass spiking out of the snow.

All day a feeling of doom


has settled in me, a heavy, unshakable

dark. It is not that it lessens

because of the doe, but perhaps


it does. She lifts her head

again for something I do not hear or see,

and I, too, tense, before we return


to the fragile moment, this small act

of trusting each other, witnesses

to the cold in the air,


the ice already cured on the pond,

the day losing

whatever color it had left,


the iris seeds spilling

their dark, latent praise

atop the snow.

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the deer beside the highway

struggling to stand on broken legs

has been dead four days

and still I try to think of ways

I might save it

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Going Forty-Five

Still in spots, oh!,

the fawn at the edge of the willows.

It tugged with startling ferocity

at its mother’s underside.

I wanted to stop and stare,

to linger there, to disappear

in the thicket and watch

as they grazed and nursed and slept.

Instead, I continued on toward

home at the edge

of the willows where there

were hungry mouths

to feed, and milk to warm,

and waiting beds.

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The fawn has lost its mother.
The doe, she was spooked.
She swam across the river this morning
and has not returned.
The fawn was turned back to our bank,
the current too strong.

This evening my daughter
squeals with delight
to see the fawn alone in the field.
She laughs as it sproings
along the edge of the grass,
all four of its legs up at once.

I do not tell her the story
of how the mother has left.
Is it my own fear I project?
The fawn, it vanishes
into the woods. I watch my daughter
watch it disappear.

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