Deer Light

A fawn glides across the road in front of me & I freeze,
caught. On foot, I’m on my way to 14th & Wilson,
& the spur which will take me to the Interurban trail
& home. I don’t expect deer. A second & a third cross—
more quickly—& then a doe appears. After urging them
across the road she follows, stately & attentive. The doe
sees me & stops at midpoint of pavement; her ears pivot
toward me, soft pools of her eyes take me in, evaluate.
Go ahead, I urge quietly. I’m not a threat. I have a bag
of groceries, today largely vegetables & no meat. I hunt,
but only with my eyes & a camera. I want only to ask
her how she led three fawns here through labyrinths
of human habitations & traffic. Whether they’ve picked
their way along the creek or across it, they are here—
sudden & real—& slip through a side yard up from
Padden Creek & now into a vacant lot surrounded by
buildings & pavement. I ease forward slowly, fearing that
moving too quickly will spook them on to the Parkway
into traffic. Passing remnants of a shed, I see them: the doe
& a fawn watch me intently, the other two forage urgently.
I stop again & watch, basking in the intersection of wildlife
& the landscape of what is now my city. With thoughts
of in-fill, development, & other hazards, I leave the deer
to forage, move forward cautiously, caught in deer light.

Andrew Shattuck McBride
September 18, 2012


This is an older poem of mine from 2009, re-worked.

About Andrew Shattuck McBride

I am a writer, editor, writing coach, and consultant. I work in a variety of genres, including poetry, short stories, and creative non-fiction. I also have a couple of novels simmering on back burners. THANK YOU to Nan Macy of Village Books for taking this photo (June 2011).
This entry was posted in Andrew Shattuck McBride Editor, Andrew Shattuck McBride Writer, Can We Talk?, Samples, Trail Offerings and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Deer Light

  1. Oh, this is marvelous, Andy. I love the lines “I’m not a threat. I have a bag / of groceries, today largely vegetables & no meat.” And framing the whole scene with the image of “deer light” is a nifty reversal of the usual perspective–having the human be the one to “freeze.”

    Send to qarrtsiluni! (Thanks, too, for that link!)

  2. tsena says:

    oh, i love this one. i really liked the line “they are here—sudden & real”. i feel that way with deer, too, on that same trail. lovely transposition; you know i want to make a really bad joke about roadkill now…but i won’t. you are alive and walking and properly stunned.

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