Three doe are standing in our yard
They’ve eaten up the roses – that was last spring
One is just now stretching up To eat some privet leaves.
She balances for just a bit on her hind legs,
To reach the berries well above her head.
Another licks and grooms the smaller doe
Perhaps her daughter – spotted fawn of just a year ago.
She licks her face, cleans out her ears -
Suddenly she turns,
Ears shaped like stalks extend
And point at me.
I think the deer hear sounds we’ve never heard -
Miles away or just beneath the ground -
I wonder what our yard sounds like to them.
The doe who ate the leaves is tired now,
She folds herself down upon the grass.
Head high, ears up, she chews and sniffs
and turns her head and sniffs again
Discerning odors I have never smelt
Do deer dislike aromas we abhor?
Do they judge the world they see and hear and smell
As good or bad - or only, is it safe?
I watch the mother deer lift up her right rear leg
And scratch her chin.
The mourful cries of coyotes pierce the night -
I saw one once, walking down our road
He turned and looked at me with yellow eyes.
I wished him well.
Mountain lions, too, live not too far from us
Sleek, gold majestic creatures, like the deer, astute
In all their senses, searching prey to keep their
Sometimes our deer are gone a day or two
Sometimes a week – I watch for them -
And when the deer return, I thank my God
For keeping them unharmed for one more day.
And then I wonder what kind of God it is
That fills the world with predators and prey?