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
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