December Visitation

by Katherine Szpekman

On the way home
from Petco, at the darkest bend
in the neighborhood,
where the land is without houses,
and no holiday lights shine,
my headlights land upon a doe.
She stands in the road,
as if she is waiting for me,
as if she isn’t in any danger.
She would be so easy to kill;
but I am driving slowly.
Stopping for her is sudden,
but controlled, and I remember
that if there is a mother,
there are usually babies,
on pencil legs, with fluttery ears.
I wait; but none follow.
And as she breaks our shared gaze,
leaps into the darkness, and vanishes
into the snowy brush,
I wonder where you are tonight;
if you are alone.
I wonder if you too have been spared,
have safely crossed over
to wherever you have fled.
I wonder if you know
all the times I stopped for you;
how much I love you.

— from Juniper Volume 4, Issue 3