The deer drifted by, before I came,
rain impaled on velvet trees.
I slathered oil on her dark fur.
A body tarnished feels soft like
the moment before a flooding.
I slept in hollow logs, leaves needling
my arms, working to blur the afterimage.
There was rapture in the deer's touch
like a darkness that drinks itself slowly.
My wood cried with nowhere to put its dreams.
Deer glittered under the dirt. I found its pulse
stuck in a staccato. I made small movements.
Nothing mattered on its own. I collected signs –
little things like hair caught in riverbed or
bruises lit up at night. Grass sucked the thirst
from my lips. My deer dragged itself, searching
for a place to die. I wiped the soil off my hands,
erected a fire for deer bones licked clean.