In the white of the yard the snow provides,
they arrived, making form seem careless dream
while they fed. From their sentences (like guides)
I know they swung back hoof to front, to seem
to letter selves through white in slow confessions.
I want to know the faith they’re lurching toward.
Something like faith in hunger, no question,
as if the yard, garden of snow, orchard
of that old longing, had swung wide its gates
to welcome nature back this speechless way.
The deer write some belief against all fates,
against the brood of deer as starving prey.
Whatever they have left for me to find
has purpose, meaning. Brushed against the briar,
written in their drafting, no forced design
between the time they set out with desire
to pull their bodies through the white Midwest
for green bits under ice, for sustenance.
Their worries are in forage; the deer wrest
Alyce clover and sweet mix from sweet chance.
To draft their winter history alive,
they follow that which thickens them to being,
compose nonfiction of how to survive
beneath the perfect sky. It does not see them.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.