There’d been two baby deer in the yard
for weeks, no sight of the mother, and then

one of the fawns disappeared. He’d been
leaving apples and sweet potatoes like

he’d read not to do. Take no action, all
the articles read, unless you’ve seen the body

of the dead mother yourself. She’s around
somewhere.
He hadn’t, but now, just one

fawn, and the question of whether to catch
it or call somebody to come and get it. Like

the woodchucks last year which cost him
hundreds after they’d eaten fifty dollars

worth of annuals overnight. The baby deer
ate his hostas to the ground, but he didn’t

seem to mind so much. He contemplated
the white spackling across its slender, bony

back. How it would fit just under his hand,
the ridge of shoulder, and if he squeezed,

the legs might splay out, the tiny enameled
hooves shining like diverging black opals.

So vulnerable, such creatures, he mused,
feeling suddenly protective again. He was

thinking only for himself, not for anyone
else, not the neighbor’s kids who’d named

the fawns Click and Clack, not the wider
moral matter of urban encroachment, just

about his desire to watch and to consider
what it might be like to hold its ribcage

against his own, see the spots close up
that he knew would disappear if it lived.


Laura McCullough's third collection of poems, SpeechActs, is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press (2010). Her second collection of poems, What Men Want, is out February 1 from xoxox Press with blurbs by Hilda Raz, Denise Duhamel, and Kurt Brown. Her first, The Dancing Bear, debuted in 06 with jacket blurbs by Stephen Dunn, Li-young Lee, and BJ Ward. In 07, Mudlark published her chapbook of prose poems, Elephant Anger, and she won her second NJ State Arts Council Fellowship, this time in poetry; the first was in prose. She has an MFA in fiction from Goddard College. In 07, she attended the Summer Solstice Writers Conference, went to Bread Loaf again as part of the Social Staff, attended the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference and the Vermont Studio Center. Her work has appeared recently or is forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Harpur Palate, Guernica, Crab Orchard Review, The Oklahoma Review, Perihelion, Anti-poetry, Tusculum Review, Hanging Loose, Pebble Lake Review, The Hiram Poetry Review, Gargoyle, Iron Horse Quarterly, The Hiss Quarterly, The Pedestal, The Potomac, Nimrod, Boulevard, Tattoo Highway, Gulf Coast, Hotel Amerika, Poetry East, The Portland Review, and others. Her book reviews have appeared in such places at Webdelsol Review of Books, The Potomac, and Small Spiral Notebook. Laura is a doctoral candidate in poetry at the University of Essex.


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