In hard winters deer starve.
A ribcage collapses under snow.
In summer the deer show themselves more.
They step aside
to clear our passage through scrub birch.
They can be seen at rest sometimes,
standing in the amber dusk
where the meadow
meets the deep green woods.
At the tag-end of August
they enter barns for hay. They are luck to us.
But what time is it? Do you have a minute?
Deer are in the thicket . . . .
I follow pointed hoofprints in damp sand.
A deer has been where you have gone.
It left signs, small marks
of spirit in March thaws. Never mind
that you didn’t see them,
you’ve seen other things:
wood-smoke, burst apples, the steam
of something stammered in the cold.
Kathleen Weaver’s recent publication is a biography: Peruvian Rebel, The World of Magda Portal, With a Selection of Her Poems, Penn State Univ. Press. Her poetry has appeared in Arts & Letters, Cimarron Review, Salamander, and other reviews. She lives in Berkeley with her husband, Bob Baldock.