Two years ago, in record rain, the plums

grew big. A doe came every afternoon

to teach her fawns to feed on fallen fruit.


When she caught sight of me, she’d lift her head,

look straight into my eyes, and stamp her foot. 


Her way of stamping was unique, her hoof

held forward, smacking the ground seven times:

anapest, trochee, spondee. I admired

her fierce motherhood, her daring, and her . . .

aggression. I held my breath through gunshots

in November.


                             A new neighbor moved in,

cut every tree on his acres, and paved

for his herd of vehicles that vanquished

the deer migration path. I saw no deer

the following fall.


                             This year’s drought punished

the plum tree. Crusted with black knot, lacking

the ardor to bloom, it bore no fruit.



the sun began to fade on All Saints Day, 

I heard rustling echoes while I raked leaves. 


I saw a doe halt at my driveway’s edge.

We held stiff-still, regarding each other.


She looked directly in my eyes and stamped:

anapest, trochee, spondee. As her tail

flicked all clear, I witnessed the elegant

crossing of six does—and lowered my head. 

Published in Blue Bear Review