The Deer Lies Down in the Snow

the deer lies down in the snow.
she imagines she’s in the ocean,
bending at the knees. she imagines
a faraway brown boat.

wobbling in the waves. we watch her
on a wooden bench in the park.
the deer rests still, and thinks
she’s alone. blowing globes of smoke
into the hatchings.

the bench is cold with water.
we scratch our real names
into the snow. like paper,
the deer is a paper weight.
in a canopy of black bark,

everything we touch
feels naked. look at your one
white knuckle when you kiss me.
the bark peels off. the flesh

beneath is pink and scared.
when the deer buckled
her legs beneath
her womb, it looked like
someone had shot a bullet
inside of her.

or a wooden arrow. through the trees
in slow motion. a tiny fire
would appear in her heart
but no one would notice.
in the ocean.

she’s never been there before.
look at my one purple knee
from the hard ice we crossed.
to be here. frozen water
feels like stained glass

when you kiss me. like praying,
the deer is a prayer book.
she falls asleep and the wood creaks
and we stretch our legs.

the smell of sun. cut through the trees
in slow motion,
two freshly brown fawns
folded underneath somewhere.

Delia Rainey is finishing her third year at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri and is a poetry intern at The Missouri Review.