deer

Strong sun, deep shadow. Off in the woods, two deer-shaped silhouettes glide through a sunlit glade. A mourning dove coos a single note.

The delicate sneezes of a deer grazing on the thorny canes of multiflora rose bushes. She stretches a hind leg up to rub her nose.

The warmest morning in weeks. The bracken in my yard that the deer mowed down has raised defiant fists. A red-eyed vireo drones on and on.

This isn’t how Hollywood would’ve scripted the deer season opener: flat light with no hint of shadow. Shots don’t ring out—they merely thud.

Just as I come out, a doe and her grown fawn emerge from the lilac. We stand and stare at each other. I notice one of her ears has a crimp.