The Afterbirth of a Fawn

by Lisa Russ Spaar

Lisa Russ Spaar

All afternoon, in slate grizzle,
beneath the yews, black shag
grove where others grazed,

indifferent, some on hind legs, eating
like the Girl with No Hands
in an old tale, the doe strode,

steamed, fell, rose again,
& by sundown still just those two,
milk-hoofed ghostly limbs

of fawn hung out of her, slipping back,
emerging, again, out, in,
the ropey noose

she leaned her elegant head
back to snap at, repeatedly,
amnion alien pulley.

While I slept, she did not.
Next evening, the tawny hour,
herd conspicuously vanished,

the space cuffed, muddy, thrashed,
so whiskery with light snow
I almost missed it, stepping

among fecal pearls, stain faint
as girlhood on a thrown-out skirt.
She’d eaten it well,

her own blood, placenta, basal plate,
but not this tissue frozen
to cellophane, weird, cellular,

unlikely remnant doily,
hieroglyph spelling unattached,
natal patch that opens us to death.

Last updated December 17, 2022