As the deer pants…

For the Water

Black pebbles, gleaming, form the nose of the doe.
Nostril rims like slices of Greek olives,
tremulous, fluttering like wings, followed
by whiskers, black wires, they spring
from raised hillocks of nerves that side
the chestnut muzzle above her ruminating mouth.
She drips clear saliva, the earth will absorb.

I cannot see her eyes yet.

Perched in the dark on the water-gurgling
campsite toilet, the stone cubical lit with moonlight
and a remnant of stars, I have to guess at coloration.
I let flow my stream like unstaunched weeping,
the kind sprung from sorrow that hurts less than it cleans.

There must be something in my carnivorous
girl-stench that she finds appealing.
Does are rarely purely herbivorous.

I saw one in winter eating a mouse.

She held it by the pelt with the cloven blade of her hoof,
tearing out the grey fur in clumps the grey sky made invisible.
The flesh was very red, sliding into her mouth.
Things rarely meet with our ideas of them;
Ideals, on the other hand, are prone to growth.

This sleek summertime doe pushed in with her head,
nosing past the unlatched door. The moon caught
in her eyes, drowned as the mastodons must have
when they fell into Le Brea. I skirted round the edge
of them, drinking in the tear-like rivulets
that washed from the corners. She fit to her shoulders.

Her head moved towards the cleft of me,
the rock of my ages, where blood would flow.
I was frightened, for a moment, that she would feed there,
picturing the second-glimpsed heart of the mouse.

She chose the stream to slake her thirst.


About Bethany W Pope

Bethany W Pope was named by the Huffington Post as ‘one of the five Expat poets to watch in 2016’. Nicholas Lezard, writing for The Guardian, described her latest collection as 'poetry as salvation'.....'This harrowing collection drawn from a youth spent in an orphanage delights in language as a place of private escape.' Bethany has won many literary awards and published several collections of poetry. Her first novel, Masque, was published by Seren in 2016. Her second novel, Ordinary Lives: The Ballad of John and Mary, was published in 2018. Follow her on Twitter @BethanyWPope

Posted on August 5, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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