Deer in Winter

The Evergreen House Museum, Baltimore, Maryland


One way they enter is to pause,
hooved, indelicate among the trees
where elms and oaks rise in a remnant forest.
Ears cupped toward the slightest sound,

the deer hear my steps, a misty gauze
surrounding them, like slow parentheses—
I watch them browse for twitchy leaves and seed.
Daily, they range across the mansion grounds.

A raised tail sends the signal flee to fawns—
The herd thrives on common cause
passed along by spectral kin: elusive, elemental.
What wisdom do they share, silent and spellbound?

Here, traffic flows; you persist, a doe withdraws,
her eye a text of unread codices.