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Wyvern Lit

Deer Poems

Poetry by Cassandra de Alba



there is always a last resort.

a special whistle, passed down

from daughter to daughter.

it should be used only

at dusk, only at the absolute

exhaustion of all other options.

but it is there, a peculiar

three-note tone, and

when it is sounded

out a second-story window

by a girl in a gauzy nightgown

with flowers in her hair –

the deer will come

with sharpened hooves.

they will ask where he is.

and she will answer.




a perfect, even ring of deer


nose-in around a girl


barefoot in new growth


arms extended from the elbow


palms up, full


the red, wet quiver


leaking through her fingers


the hole in her side


stitching itself closed




our prayer is the words

“dead deer in an open field”

repeated hundreds of times


we sift through radio static

waiting for the messages


our hair is turning black with anticipation


the rotting flowers in our crowns

smell like it


the blood sigils in our basements

say we mean business


all of the trees

have learned our name


the dead deer in the open field

turns its glassy eye

to stare at us




and then the deer dressed their wounds

and then the deer bathed their limbs

and then the deer licked clean their faces of tears and dirt

and then the deer knelt down in the forest and allowed the people to sleep on their soft sides

and then they woke up and they were all of them deceived




culdesacs are preferred –

the deer enjoy running

in endless loops

past identical houses,

identical shocked, shirtless men

lounging on or mowing the lawn.

they favor town playgrounds,

since the ones at schools

tend to end in fences

rather than scrubby clutches

of woods. the deer enjoy

disappearing as fast

as they arrive.

other things the deer enjoy:

trash cans (knocking them over),

ruining the turf of soccer fields,

riding shopping carts away

from the supermarket

and onto the road.

things the deer do not enjoy:

small dogs, automatic sprinklers,

sharing their space

with the messy fact of humans,

not merely their delightful trappings.




that fall the hunters were happy

to report an abundance

of eight-point bucks –

almost every deer

antlered magnificently,

morning sun glinting

off the tip of each tine.

the deer seemed quicker, though,

on hoof and on the uptake –

fewest tagged in the county

since the records started.

and the ones who were

brought in, something off

about them, uncanny.

a lot of racks bigger

than anyone’d seen before,

and a lot of them attached

to what turned out

to be does, when all

was said and done.