by Dan Chiasson
Half in, half out of my dream:
deer wander in a bright auditorium.
They are serene until they see me,
when they bolt and scatter, looking for cover.
I stand frozen on the half-court line.
If I move, the deer go berserk.
A doe just split her head open
when she rammed the cinderblock wall;
a fawn pulls all her fur apart, and gags
on mouthfuls of hide she can’t spit.
I see the hunger in their stenciled ribs,
the furniture inside their skin.
—And then I’m spared, alone in bed.
I’m forty-six, a trespasser
in my dream gym. The deer are children.
I’m the maypole they dance around.