portion of the artwork for Jen Schalliol's poetry

You don’t want to read this
Jen Schalliol

for Alan

It wasn’t my experience
at first. A friend gave it to me
to keep: they’d all been stomping through
the woods, as people do, and then,
a deer—a buck—full, six-point horns,
darted out—away from them—and
charged into a wire fence,
which broke
his neck.

He landed on whichever side.
The part that sticks in them for good
is the image: the stag, his crown
the only anchor to the ground,
his body thrashing in the air,
upright in a sick vertical.
They had to watch. They couldn’t leave.
They couldn’t help.

And it kept on, for minutes more.
They wept, and told me later of
this huge beautiful living thing
dying, and like that. Then they had
to call to have the deer removed.
And all of us had to decide
where to shelve the new memory.
It breeds an anger

at fences, at cars, at people
tramping past their own little boxed
habitat—and irrational,
yes, my hatred of trains; brakeless,
thundering-forward progress. Well,
efficiency be damned.

I’d derail each line
with my teeth
and my life’d still be
one short.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 31 | Winter 2011