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The Afterbirth of a Fawn

Inerte, tout brûle dans l’heure fauve . . .

– Mallarmé, L’après-midi d’un faune

All afternoon, in slate grizzle,

beneath the yews, black shag

grove where others grazed,

indifferent, some on hind legs, eating

like the Girl with No Hands

in an old tale, the doe strode,

steamed, fell, rose again,

& by sundown still just those two,

milk-hoofed ghostly limbs

of fawn hung out of her, slipping back,

emerging, again, out, in,

the ropey noose

she leaned her elegant head

back to snap at, repeatedly,

amnion alien pulley.

While I slept, she did not.

Next evening, the tawny hour,

herd conspicuously vanished,

the space cuffed, muddy, thrashed,

so whiskery with light snow

I almost missed it, stepping

among fecal pearls, stain faint

as girlhood on a thrown-out skirt.

She’d eaten it well,

her own blood, placenta, basal plate,

but not this tissue frozen

to cellophane, weird, cellular,

unlikely remnant doily,

hieroglyph spelling unattached,

natal patch that opens us to death.

from Poetry Northwest 11.2 Winter & Spring 2017More by Lisa Russ Spaar from the library

Copyright © Lisa Russ Spaar
Used with the permission of the author
on behalf of Poetry Northwest.

Published in Lisa Russ Spaar Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.