We Called Her Trillium


Trillium the deer

Poem by Michael Leamy:


The echo of your timid hoof beats slapped

The silence of the night. The monster path

You crossed meandered, serpent-like, between

Your fountain and your feast, and so, you risked

The daily crossing, never knowing when

The distant roaring sea or moaning wind

Might mask the rising racket of the beast

That rushed upon you. Heartless, mindless thing,

It came around the bend that silent night.

Its glowing eyes reflected in your own.

You froze. The monster merely snapped at you

In passing. Searing pain knifed through you. Down

The path the monster fled, and with it took

Your leg. The darkness closed again around

You, filled you as you tumbled through the air,

To land, a broken, senseless little thing,

Concealed by sedges that received you, closed

Above you, as you lingered there between

The living and the dead. The bed of leaves

And grasses cushioning your fall were from

Another year, and yet they served again,

As did the ones that lived and sheltered you.

With gentle rain, your Maker bathed your wounds

And soothed your fevered body. Weighted down

With dew, the berry vines and ivy eased

Your thirst and nourished you just long enough

To seal your ghastly wound. Necessity

At last compelled you to attempt to rise.

You failed. You failed again. Each awkward try

Renewed your hurt, as useless muscles tried

To move your missing leg. You staggered, fell,

And lurched again, to stand on trembling legs,

Endeavoring to balance now on three.

At last, you took a lunging step, and fell,

Fresh vines within your reach. You rested there,

And ate, and staggered up again. You leaned,

Stepped forward with your two front legs, then humped

Your back and dragged your one remaining leg.

You stopped, then suffered through another step.

One agonizing step was followed by

Another, and another, as you learned

To walk again, not far, not fast, nor with

The grace that once was yours. But, step by step,

You lived again. Through healing months, you learned

To run. Two years...no, more than that... you move

Through life with halting steps, but so do I.

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