The Deer Corpse

“Some hunters dumped a corpse out on your land,”
she says, “I tried to catch them, but they slipped past me.”
We smelled it, of course, while we walked to shake
the last persimmons from the naked, wild trees.

In the cold, the smell was mild, even
complimentary, to those sweet, sticky
brown fruit, whose pulp stained our hands and jeans red,
where we squeezed it out, wiped it, eating.

Later, I saw its rib cage, bone white, resting
in a copse of wood. Insects had stripped it
mostly, but had then been arrested by
the cold of winter. Its limbs were askew.

One foot still had skin and fur. The hoof black.
In it, I saw the living thing, the deer,
somehow whole, paradoxically fixed
to this discarded pile of rotting bone.

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