Wandering tracks of sparrows and juncos in the snow below the porch. Beyond that, bare patches pawed open by hungry deer in the night.
Cold and gray. A deer snorts again and again over at the neighbors’—bear? Bobcat? Coyote? In the other direction, a sparrow hawk zips past.
Weak sunlight and the creek’s quiet gurgle. I think of the dead deer up in the field, her throat torn open by coyotes, feeding their songs.
An ostinato of dripping on the porch roof. The fog advances, retreats. Somewhere a deer snorts. Drenched squirrels bound over the slush.
Deer came in the night and dug up half the yard to get at the evergreen myrtle. Sun pours down from a cloudless sky. A song sparrow sings.
A cold gray day. Juncos forage on the road and in the yard where a deer has dug. The dull knocks of a pileated woodpecker trepanning an oak.
Cloudy and cold. The quiet tapping of a downy woodpecker. A deer hunter appears, his bloody quarry sliding behind him on the fallen leaves.
Brighter color between the trees: sunrise. Gray as their trunks: a doe and her grown fawns. From down hollow, a screech owl’s trill.
Deer follow their long-legged shadows through the trees. Three phoebes chase through the branches and three chipmunks through the leaf duff.
The morning after the end of deer season and an inch and a half of new snow covers the evidence—the gut piles, the trails of blood and hair.