Speaking the Language of Deer

by Martin Willitts Jr.

She heard a thumping sound behind her house,
turned on the back porch light to
a small herd of deer
startled by the suddenness of light, frozen
and indecisive as a letter of regret

“don’t worry, it’s just me, I won’t harm you,”
she coaxed, a voice in light snowfall,

the deer, transfixed,
disbelieving in all things human
and unnatural

the darkness between, a division, an unsettling

of things beyond light and resolution,
assessing danger on the fly,

hindquarters enveloping into dark
slow as words,
determined as a Quaker weighting options
within the light, in silence

the woman in the household wondered
where they came from, which imaginary forest,
how they survived in the city
without encountering a car, how hooves
might feel on concrete after being in meadows,

why dark was a prevailing wind,
how their eyes remained after they were gone,

how her purse was genuine deerskin
how it fit everything in compartments
like she fit into apartments,

how she could still hear their refusal to stay

Why Women Are A Ribbon Around A Bomb, Last Automat press, 2011

Martin Willitts Jr's picture

Martin Willitts Jr was nominated for 5 Pushcart Awards and 2 Best Of The Net awards. He has print chapbooks "Falling In and Out of Love" (Pudding House Publications, 2005), “Lowering Nets of Light” (Pudding House Publications, 2007), The Garden of French Horns” (Pudding House Publications, 2008), “Baskets of Tomorrow” (Flutter Press, 2009), “The Girl Who Sang Forth Horses” (Pudding House Publications, 2010), “Van Gogh’s Sunflowers for Cezanne” (Finishing Line Press, 2010). He has online chapbooks "Farewell--the journey now begins" on (www.languageandculture.net, 2006), “News from the Front” (www.slowtrains.com, 2007), “Words & Paper” (www.threelightsgallery.com, 2008). He has two full length books "The Secret Language of the Universe" (March Street Press, 2006), and “The Hummingbird” (March Street Press, 2009). He has four new chapbooks: “True Simplicity” (Poets Wear Prada Press, 2011), “My Heart Is Seven Wild Swans Lifting” (Slow Trains, 2011), “Why Women Are A Ribbon Around A Bomb” (Last Automat, 2011), and “Art Is Always an Impression of What an Artist Sees” (Muse Café, 2011).

Last updated August 15, 2011