Two Deer

"Only mystery allows us to live..." ~ Lorca

I have never dreamed of deer, though once
in the mountains, emerging from the house

we rented for the night, I saw a doe
and her fawn chewing on hibiscus leaves.

The wonder was that they didn't seem
skittish at all. Perhaps because the town

was overrun with tourists, the peculiar
imprint of human smells had become familiar

to them: human with backpack, human
fresh from having a traditional tattoo

tapped on an arm, human covered with mud
from spelunking. The mother let me come

closer, let me offer a handful of sweet
grass. There are people who would immediately

seize upon this and turn it into an omen.
Like: rune for impending motherhood; or

you will be the last matriarch of your
line. When the doe and her fawn edged

back into the woods, I walked down the trail
past the orange groves in search of breakfast.

For a second, I couldn't remember how old
I was, or why it should matter. A deep

nostalgia rose up in me at the sight of fog
blanketing the valley. But then I arrived

at a cafeteria selling coffee and smoked
venison, roasted yam, red mountain rice.

Why was I sad just a moment before? How
was I now only ravenous, even cheerful?




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