POETRY: JESSICA BEBENEK
I wanted to write a poem about a deer
but by the time I got around to it,
I think it was probably already dead.
I guess that makes this an elegy.
I watched it through the chain-link fence
with my fingers clawed around the diamond-outline of its metal-
etched body, darting through the crooks of electrical towers.
No, he was a stag, big, with antlers, and with ink-
deep eyes that I could look into and I would feel them
like he was looking into me and not bleating with his eyes shut.
He kept reeling around on his two back legs and his soft browns looked grey
like the grass and the pile of concrete cylinders to the right. His nose kept
spraying out these puffs of hot sleet and there was all this steam
coming off his back. I could see the meat
pulsing around his bones. I wanted to call someone to catch
him, help him, or—I wanted to grab someone’s
arms hard and tell them he needed help. I wanted to
press my palms flat on his wet, shaking body.
I wanted to help him. Instead, I watched him smack
his hooves off a path of broken asphalt slabs
and disappear down the drooping rows
of thick black cables.
Previously published in The Rusty Toque, Nov. 2013
Jessica Bebenek is a writer, bookmaker, & interdisciplinary artist living in Tiohtià:ke (Montreal), unceded land of the Kanien’kehá:ka Nation. Her creative work can be found in PRISM, Prairie Fire, CV2, Arc, and Grain, among other places. Her third poetry chapbook, Fourth Walk, was published by Desert Pets Press in 2017, and her collection of knitting patterns for poems, k2tog, was released by Berlin’s Broken Dimanche Press in 2019. She works as a writer, teacher, and bookmaker, and is currently completing a full-length poetry collection, No One Knows Us There.
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