Updated: Dec 23, 2021

(After William Stafford)

The doe, long gone cold,

looked weirdly back at me,

her neck broken, her eye

frozen in a wall-eyed stare

from the black pit of death.

Her tawny hide leeched gray

flecks of fur. She had bartered

her beauty for one last leap

over the old wire fence.

Yesterday the hunters came.

Startled on my way back

to the car, I saw her hind leg

strangled in the top wire

of fencing, some farmer’s pledge

to remain a good neighbor.

My shadow loped far ahead of me

in the glow of a sleepy-eyed sun.

I was thinking how the river would

wash away the blood from my hands.

I was thinking about Faust and his folly.

At the car, I looked back, the deer’s eye

black as sin. Now, she would no longer

search the night sky for the pointed tip

of Orion’s arrow. Now, she no longer shivered

in winter’s chill. Behind me, two guns fired.

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