When You Talk About a Dead Deer
For Kelli Russell Agodon
The buds in my garden respond to such grief with a refusal to
open up their petals in full light. Air, dank with sorrow,
makes my garden smell like a cemetery. Ghosts juggle in the
bath under feet and I can only hear a trombone, a devastating
note grafted by the wind on my broken cello still living with a
heart and two kidneys. The flowers in my garden (once a
forest till my last lover made me this tomb of four walls here
to beat the snow and reach the last breath with as less anguish
for death possible) were untamable, they chased the deer and
the lost alike. The lost dropped one by one, so did the deer.
Grief stilled their bloom until my wild hands relieved them of
the guilt, and they became tamer. When you talk about a dead
deer, it reminds me of the builder of my nest who sailed tons
of musk pods down the Yangtse to a bustling metropolis and
wondered how someone's horror, someone's pain can be sold
for money. He then died here, in redemption, and in his body
was impermanence sculpted of regret, of a lifetime measured
by dead deer.
Previously published in Crab Orchard Review. This poem was written after reading Kelli Russell Agodon's "Hunter's Moon", which may be read here.
Author of Whorelight, Linda Ashok is the 2017 Charles Wallace India Fellow in Creative Writing (Poetry) at the University of Chichester, UK. Linda’s poems and reviews have appeared/forthcoming in several publications, online and in print, including Crab Orchard Review, The Common, The McNeese Review, Poetry Kanto, Friends Journal, Axolotl, Skylight 47, The Big Bridge Anthology of Contemporary Indian Poets, Mascara Literary Review, The Rumpus and others. Linda is the Founder/President of RædLeaf Foundation for Poetry & Allied Arts (2012) and sponsors the annual RL Poetry Award (since 2013). More at: lindaashok.com