People always talked of hitting deer, chasing them
from the garden, looking for the twin orange lights
of them at roadside. For me, they were a rumor.
They were like ghosts. Then I moved house
to the village on the coast. One fall night, driving home
from a poetry class, I ascended and then, over the crest
of that hill past Bristol, skidded to a stop. It was
a doe, sagging midway and skin over bones elsewhere.
Her face fixed on mine; she made no move to dodge
the SUV. Then, as if the dinner bell rang, she leapt
westward over the gully into the brush.
Two days later, in the selfsame ditch, I saw
an upended carousel horse, I thought, faded tan legs
stuck up akimbo. A twisted head below, black nose
the period to the sentence. The body was whole.
A rare snow fell next day. It was nearly Christmas
when a thaw exposed her again. Won’t the county
clean her up? I wondered. That task was left to
the turkey vultures, one of whom stared me down
the next Sunday, and two days after that, and
just yesterday, his meal down to bones but still
shimmering with the truth she’d offered me.