16 December – Interrupted flight

Caught in the cracking crossfire
of the grouse shoot’s shots’ surround sound,
she fled.

And fearful flight looked serene for a moment
as she drew a perfect, lithe arc of born-for-this
grace.

But her hooves never landed on turf or tarmac,
and as bone met speeding steel up ahead,
she crumpled.

I said a long goodbye by the roadside,
crouching in the reddened rain to stroke
with hands and words.

We had to let her go.
Permanently interrupted.
Grounded, then gone.

And I, who long to see deer up close,
especially in daylight, was angry at my chance
to hold a doe.

I remember how her wet fur felt and how her eyes
lost their widened flight-fright-fight look
to pain,
then calm,
then nothing.

Life happens. Death happens.
I know the way of the world by now.
But this? This was wrong.

16 December - Interrupted flight