A Nimble Deer


A doe that was, only a minute

before, quietly munching, leaps over

a wooden fence, nimble

as a goat. She rears up, after reaching

the other side, like a trick dog —

her front hooves dangling from her

useless forelegs, her hind legs

absorbing all the weight. She cranes

her soft, brown neck just far

enough to reach the succulent leaves

of a dogwood tree. But the younger 

deer — smaller, less sure —

stick to low-hanging branches,

their tails flicking like little propellers

that fail to lift them from the earth.

– Terri Kirby Erickson

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