More heifer than a deer, a craftsman’s failure
to catch the curve of neck, the tiny hooves,
the nearly weightless stance. Even the color’s
wrong: red-brown of chimneys, tile roofs,
with a baby’s bib of polar white.
Stiff, flat-footed, by a mobile home
along a gravel driveway, it competes
for space with stripped-out cars and plaster gnomes.
Each December, someone always drapes
a scarlet vinyl bow around its neck;
all through July, a faded Stars and Stripes
adorns its length from tail to antler rack;
in spring, it guards a clutch of plastic eggs.
Someone loved that burlesque of a deer
enough to clear a spot to put it there;
someone planted flowers around its legs,
and someone touches up its paint each year.
Some people love their lives, just where they are.
Michael Battram is a lifelong resident of Southern Indiana. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Barefoot Muse, The Formalist, Nerve Cowboy, and Wavelength.
First published in Measure, Volume 1 (2006)