She sprang from underbrush
and stood in front of the sun
turned red, eyeing

the silver house keys
and the grocery bag
I’d dropped when I noticed

my father’s shape
behind the upstairs curtain
darkening his bedroom,

and I rushed, knowing
it might be the last time
I would see him there.

I turned back, saw her
curved shadow expanding
under an alder tree,

light making rivers between
her antlers, the woods
a city outgrowing the day.

She shivered, shook
the snow from her back
then broke into the branches—

a doctor
shrugging off her coat
prescribing me the cold.


By Matthew Gellman