Ann Keiffer

What Does a Deer Say?

While out walking, I saw,
on the other side of the street,
three neighborhood deer
watching one local woman walk by.
Like creatures cast in bronze,
the deer flicked no flies, nor
switched their tails, offering me only
silence, caution and brown eyes.
I watched them back, and wondered:
What sound does a deer make?

We don’t bring deer into the
repertoire of animal-sounds
we teach to our toddlers. We
school them in “oink, squeak,
squawk, squeal, quack, cluck,
woof, baa, tweet, growl, and nay.”
But what does a deer say?

Two days later, I was on the balcony
and heard the dry-gold grass
beneath the oaks rustle in a dotted
rhythm. I looked down, and there
was a fawn still wearing its polka-
dotted baby clothes, leaping in
tawny grass up to its belly.

On the far side of the shrubbery
directly below me, a dark gliding
caught my eye. A doe nosed
through an opening in the hedge,
on the seek side of hide-and-go.
The fawn in the grass watched
the doe disappear through the
door in the hedge, and toddling
his mother’s way, with hungry
little deer kissy lips—
and me listening in—
the fawn said what a baby deer says.
A baby deer says mew!

Ann Keiffer/August, 2010

Photo Credit: Steve took it Creative Commons License Flickr



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.

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