the deer in her tracks

Cal brought his truck down to the ditch hollowed out with its light
there he said where she landed

you can see signs of struggle on the snow, furious angels
biting and calling each other names

she kicks him and throws him off, blood relative
or not he rips open her coat in the front

she rakes his face, hits him with a stone running not so fast
girl, where you think you’re goin’

and there she fell, that last time
the road passing over us like judgment.

Questions and Answers

What inspired “the deer in her tracks”?

I had a sudden flash of two entities engaged in spiritual and literal battle, not unlike the wrestling depicted in the Bible and other works of antiquity. This juxtaposition of the spiritual and the physical is enticing, and finely explored by Leonard Cohen, Ray Charles and many other dark knights. Also in my mind was Fra Angelico’s painting ‘The Annunciation’ which depicts Mary receiving the message of divinity, and her apparent physical pain at the news.

What poetic techniques did you use in “the deer in her tracks”?

‘Deer In Her Tracks’ is a loose free-form poem. It reads smooth, however I was not attempting to make it perfectly balanced or use a fixed beat structure. I do employ an ironic interplay between the lines wherein the end of one line may offer a slight twist to the line to come.

This poem “the deer in her tracks” originally appeared in Canadian Literature 181 (Summer 2004): 77.

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