after Kim Addonizio’s “Night in the Castle”
I’m not sure what to do about the deer
who have suddenly emerged around us.
Next door, we watched the spotted baby trapped
by the neighbor’s fence, the woods open
to her just beyond her frenzied pacing. How we learn
so young to be afraid, to run for the thicket,
to nuzzle into our herd of mothers and aunts.
I think about how we are so much worse than wild
animals, our moneyed egos thrust
into each other’s chests, our fearmongering
becoming a habit like smoking. It will get us
eventually, but we jones for that nicotine, baby!
Meanwhile the deer are still in the woods
that surround us, timid behind the branches, running
toward the creek if we startle them when coming
outside. How they leap and jump. How their hoofbeats
make a rhythm we could dance to. How the fleeting
sight of them helps plug the holes our mothers
left behind when they died. How their absences darken
like the woods, hushed, after the deer have gone.