The Mule Deer
Everywhere in California children
are crawling out from under beds.
The deer move like broken chairs rebuilt
in the shape of a horse. They have the faces
of cows, legs like awkward architecture.
They have killed several who lived on
my street – hunters or children who tried
to feed them pancakes. I see them every
morning as I draw my curtains. They are
destroying the garden, the squash, the tomatoes,
marigolds, string beans, the beetle-peppered
roses. They keep me awake at night rustling
the rhododendron – I imagine men with knives,
as sad children often do. The bucks rub their
antlers on the front step in the fall, the does
chase us down the driveway when we stare
at their fawns: they knock down fences, dive
through wind-shields, shadow us on our hikes.
We have town meetings, shriek about control
and acceptable losses, while they toss
our babies in the fields of wild wheat.