Sunrise. A deer grazes at the woods’ edge. A phoebe perches beside her and makes repeated sorties over her back, snapping up the deerflies.
Another dark, humid morning. A deer comes crashing through the laurel, turns and doubles back, as if trying to shake her entourage of flies.
A halictid bee pivots in the black-eyed susan, a metallic green mote. At the end of one petal, a deerfly dries those anti-petals, its wings.
A doe strains to lick the flies from the part of her back her tail can’t sweep, black riders unshaken by the endless tremors in her fur.
On the steep slope below my parents’ house, a doe sweeps the deerflies from her twin fawns’ spotted backs with her long, rough tongue.
Soft applause from the road bank: a doe’s ears flapping as she shakes her head to chase away the flies.