The Deer Unspoken

She appears, ghost of the corn,
in the dim evening, almost an absence,
brown velvet neck muscling the soil.
I raise the rifle, place crosshairs

on her spine.  She is pulsing there
in fine electric signals.  My heart
quickens and something old opens
inside me. Midwife to death,

it tells me we are one thing breathing
along the telescopic sight.  I hold
my breath and pull the trigger.
We are shattered, the deer, the gun,

the coming night, by rupture
and silence.  My closed eyes see
nothing, but the skin knows
the body is lying in a heap, blood

and air rivering the field into blooms
of bone and flesh.  I take her
in the dark, the empty weight
stronger than gravity, rooting

us to the earth.  The sun will rise
on a void, the powdered hoof
prints, the bed of her body,
my boots traveling into nowhere,

the place where she was loaded
and we drove away, a November
mysticism as if we lifted into air
or the field opened up around us,

taking this harvest, this bitter
cold alchemy, back to its beginnings,
as if she were Persephone and I
had dragged her down.

P. Ivan Young

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