Even if she has never seen a human,
when the deer sees you,
she is scared.
Even if you speak softly and sweetly,
voice diffusing like steam
through the trees.
Even if you slouch and move slowly
and smoothly, even your
eyelids are gentle.
Even if they call you an animal person,
if your friend’s shy dog
offers his belly.
Even if you dream that deer know
the secrets of the edge
of the woods.
Even if, in a driveway, you once saw
a dead deer strung up on
the basketball hoop.
Even if, after watching Bambi, you
wondered where every
deer’s parents were.
Even if you confuse venison for veal,
and someone tries to
comfort you by
saying, Those animals are born to
be killed, that’s why
we made them.
Even if you wanted to be a veterinarian.
Even if you touched a deer
hoof lighter, shuddering.
Even if you have a deer tattoo. Even if
you fantasized about the
deer trusting you.