Turning Infants Into Fawns - Poem by Caroline Misner
We watch for them each year
when the ferns grow green and thick
and their bristled leaves release
their beards to full furl.
Flung from the marshes where
milkweed pods disgorge their wooly viscera
from spiked green tongues.
The wood nymphs birthed them,
the progeny of trysts with humble men;
now these children leap and hurl
over broad new buds and soft loam
that smell of must and vegetation,
naked as hatchlings, over fields
of moss and lichen.
Shunned by the dead, but revered
by the living, their nimble limbs
so pale and lean we can see
each ropy cord of sinew cling to
each fragile bone, the skulls too delicate
to be burdened by antlers
ensconced in brown velvet.
Why do we terrify them; they are not our prey?
One more nimble footfall and they fly,
tails upturned behind speckled backs
as white as the dappled trillium
that rise like foam and soften
their hooves and startled breath
to be devoured by the woods.
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