by Mark Wunderlich
Two days of snow, then ice
and the deer peer from the ragged curtain of trees.
Hunger wills them, hunger
pulls them to the compass of light
spilling from the farmyard pole.
They dip their heads, hold
above snow, turn furred ears
to scoop from the wind
the sounds of hounds, or men.
They lap at a sprinkling of grain,
pull timid mouthfuls from a stray bale.
The smallest is lame, with a leg
healed at angles, and a fused knob
where a joint once bent.
It picks, stiff, skidding its sickening limb
across the ice’s dark platter.
Their fear is thick as they break a trail
to the center of their predator’s range.
To know the winter
is to ginger forth from a bed in the pines,
to search for a scant meal
gleaned from the carelessness
of a killer.
Morning In Woodstock
Last night white tailed deer,
all pivot and dash,
high-stepped like drum majorettes
down the fence line
in the knee-deep snow.
Black shocks of birch and ash,
solemn skeletons, keep lookout,
as Sumac, like sergeants, shush with
red brush hands, and crimson mists
of Salmon Berries hang in the air.
Platoons of firs, planted
since the fire,
branches bound in snow like cotton,
stand in long lines at attention.
In my robe, coffee cold,
I search far into the woods
from the window,
for some movement
some stir of wind.