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MISANDEER

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.

 

 

SACRAMENT

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

 

 

NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENT

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

 

 

DEER POEM ENDING ON A LINE FROM LORD OF THE RINGS

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

 

 

HABIT(AT)S

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.

 

 

SURROYALS

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.