Caught beneath a car but found alive,
the fawn screams but doesn’t kick,
and it’s too late. Her spine is crushed.
I try to hold her still. I didn’t know
how bright her spots would be,
her dappled coat, my shaking hand
across her flank as if to wipe her clean.
Her eyes so wide, so close to mine,
I see my entire face inside.
It’s years before a boy will throw me
to the ground, and years before I’ll dream
his face, so close to mine, and scream
myself awake. I’m still a girl. I still believe
in wild things, that the startled animal
in my chest is not the fawn I carry in a bag,
wrapped and tied, like a gift, or grief.
Susannah Nevison is the author of In the Field Between Us (forthcoming from Persea Books, 2020, written with Molly McCully Brown); Lethal Theater (Charles B. Wheeler Poetry Prize, forthcoming from Ohio State University Press in 2019); and Teratology, winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry. Her poems and essays have appeared in Crazyhorse, The National Poetry Review, 32 Poems, Pleiades, The Missouri Review, The New York Times, and elsewhere. Nevison is currently a visiting assistant professor of English and creative writing at Sweet Briar College.