Ann Keiffer


A dry-hot day…
and the doe likes the
cool, shadowed space
between the high hedge
and the rear wall of
our stucco building.
I’m on my balcony
two stories up
with a secret aerial
of the doe and her fawns.
The doe is facing away
from me, tail flicking,
biting-fly twitch-twitching.
Her two spindly, spotted fawns
gangle about on their new stilts
in the dirt behind her.
Suddenly, on a tear,
one fawn bursts out through
an opening in the hedge,
springing, leaping,
bounding across the
weed-whacked fire-break
into the tall grass
under the oak trees
and disappears.
I think, Coyotes!…
ugly-dog creatures
hunting day and night
in the nearby wild spaces,
even daring to skulk in
among our buildings
to grab small cats and dogs
off porch steps and patios.
I tense, not wanting to hear
the ripping swish
of parting grass,
the tiny bleating scream.
And what about the road…
not that far away,
with oblivious people
in demolishing machines.
But mom is still facing away,
staying in the deep shadows.
It doesn’t seem possible
she hasn’t noticed
the disappearance of her fawn,
even I have a visceral
sense of danger.
Just then the second fawn,
who had seemed even
more wobbly and timid,
shoots out from behind
the hedge in full leap
and disappears
in a different direction
into the tall grass.
The second one gone!
What made the two
small creatures burst out
of their mother’s shadow
and hurtle into unknown territory
clearly seething with danger?
I anticipate mom’s alarm
when she realizes
her off-springing are gone.
How would she find them,
call to them, warn them,
round them up,
bring them back to safety?
Mom turns in my direction,
calmly chewing.
She cocks her head up
toward where I sit.
Our eyes lock.
This is how you do it,
she tells me.

May, 2022
Ann Keiffer

If I ever stop writing about this subject, you’ll know I finally got it. ;-D

Image Credit: Google search with edits


About Ann

I am interested in the strange beauty of brokenness, in transforming possibility in difficult times, in how we heal even when we can’t get better, in the alchemy of surrender, in the interplay of light and shadow, in the bounty of everyday wonders, in the gift of laughter…and writing about it, all and everything.

Recent Poems

Buy My Book