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Nancy Walton Pringle Memorial Prize

Dakota Reed

 

Doe, a Deer

A red square appears between

my legs on the screen and then

there are three-finger swift swipes

up my inner-thighs, along my crotch

and I try to think instead of my

own hands smoothing sycamore

leaves against the body of a fawn

I found crouched on the asphalt

one summer, waiting in the wrong

place for its mother to return.


I am cleared and it is not until

I reach my gate that I realize I have

forgotten my luggage, forgotten even

to wave goodbye to my mother

standing on the other side of security—

forgotten anyone else was there

at all, forgotten anything existed

besides the hands between my legs

and my hands on the fawn and I forgot,

too, that I wasn’t still stuck next to him

or him or him with hands that

seemed to be everywhere at once.


Doe will not return to their young

if they sense human scent on their

fur: and so the sycamore leaves,

and so my knees digging into wet

ground as I lean forward. I peer

through bushes to witness reunion,

an impressionist-like smatter

and flick of white tails dotting away

into the distance.