Breathing With Deer At Dawn
In Memory of a Deer I Loved
Murdered by the Metroparks
I breathed with her at dawn,
our breaths rising in blue mist
under sycamores and cottonwoods.
I laid beside her in the summer grasses
and sat by her in the winter snow.
I looked into her eyes long enough
that she lost fear of me and trusted me.
She knew I watched out for her.
One day I saw her tell her fawn to trust me.
She licked his cheek.
Her right hind foot was injured long ago
so she limped. She lost a fawn to a speeding driver
who was not paying attention.
After that her limp seemed to get worse.
She loved sedges, and wild hyacinth
and was leader to all the other females
and their fawns.
They followed her on winter mornings,
pawing hooves in the snow,
necks reaching for red berries.
2 years I watched her, loved her,
listened with her to orioles and red headed woodpeckers.
I learned from her that deer know birds.
I saw her watch them
and listen to their alarms.
I watched her fawns romp in water with Canada geese.
I learned from her the easiest paths
through the woods.
I learned from her how to fear people
and to watch out for bad ones and dogs.
She taught me how to enjoy fall leaves,
lying in them for hours.
She was a devoted mother
always licking her fawns faces
teaching them the ways.
(Deer, Hickory, Beech, and Nuthatch)
2 years I loved her, walked with her
learned from her,
and every day I admired her more.
Then, last November, park officials
that she and her fawns ate too many wildflowers
or low shrubs birds might have nested in,
declared browsing deserves capital punishment.
Ignorantly abjuring non lethal means,
they came in the middle of the night
with sharpshooters and
Blew a hole through her skull
and killed her fawns too--
and 2000 more deer
as precious and unique as she.
Now, when I walk in the
my heart still looks for her
but she is gone
and I breathe blue mist alone.
The woods are deerless and lonely
and I still look for her
when orioles sing.
I hate these killers
and bogus wildlife biologists.
I have grieved for her for months
and under the sycamores where she walked
I look for her and find only
my own emptiness and anger
and she is gone.
Copyright © 2002 Mark Koslow.
All Rights Reserved.