Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Small Facts

The first one in late June and in tall grass
So from a distance looked as though
Some animal was down, a fox or dog,
Too in the open for good news.
Then walking closer what I found
Was just a fawn, mindlessly asleep,
Curled on itself and warming in the sun,
The mother gone.

First day a fawn
Survives without a scent for predators,
So this one slept the safer with the mother
Yards away, watching under low branches.
And then last week there was another.
And now this morning twins, this time their mother
Cleaning them while I watched from the porch.
This sort of thing occurs most every year,
As though there runs a close but ragged lineage
Follows itself season to season;
Or else it is a doe gives birth
Not to her fawn to but a place
Revisited year after year.

And there are other regions to my theory,
The whys one wanders into when
Encountering a buck who snorts and runs
Yet on another day, same place,
A heavy doe will drop her head and paw;
And there’s the tall one bumps the feeder with her nose,
Sticking out her impudent tongue for seed,
And staring through the window when the feeder’s empty.

Then the world of rutting comes around,
After which we have to rake, and prop the fences;
Other months the bagatelles through early vegetation,
As though we served a salad every year
And only ought to add some vinaigrette.

But this day, watching one more dumb show of
Brief urgency and birth, the mother
Washing down and bedding down her two
Till they were near invisible among dead leaves,
All was as unremarkable as ever,
Indifferent, really, if still vulnerable.
“All just a little too routine,” I said,
To nothing near enough to hear.

And then the mother wasn’t there.
So I walked out to get a closer look.
And what I saw, spotted and wet
And not about to move, stared me back
Uncomprehendingly, eyes with
The clarity and vacancy
Of just-cleaned windows or an emptied glass.
They gazed out with blank intensity
That seemed impossible to anything
That soon would hunger, leave and grow,
Survive and suffer, possibly return.  end  

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