Deer in the Forest II ||| North American Review

You are the late offspring of the last universal ancestor living by staid American
suburbs where well-manicured lawns swallow the woods like summer fires
dashing through grass.

“If you are a deer, why should your head hang on a wall?”
“If you are a woman, why should your mind play ingénue?”

Lost on a Southern plot where people’s indifference does not deflate your fear,
your soundless ennui blooms in the spring like jonquils.

“Should you try a contact call? A grunt?”
“Not if you walk at the end of a leash.”

At night, your coat turns blue under the woodlot’s crown. The moon drapes her
fluid fingers around your ears and summons the spirit of the forest in yellow
words. You hear each sound, but you don’t understand them together. A failed
deer, you jump over painted chain link fences, flash your white tail in surrender
when they run amok.

If you turn your back to the crowd forever, a green brush stroke on your neck
recalls the foliage. Reduced to a set of discrete planes, you are the expression of
the 21st century on a wall. Fragmented.


Brigitte Byrd grew up in France where she was trained as a dancer before migrating to the United States. She is the author of three poetry books, most recently Fence above the Sea (Ahsahta). Her newest work has appeared in Denver QuarterlyApalachee Review, and North American Review among others. Brigitte serves as Associate Editor for Tupelo Quarterly. She lives in Atlanta.

“Deer in the Forest II” by Brigitte Byrd was first published in North American Review’s 301.2 and then in the North American Review’s Online Issue 2016.