Susan Terris


What does a fawn eat? I ask myself. By tomorrow

will this one be dead like the one I found by the dock

in the lake? Is this little deer less threatening than

the night-bear who left a trail of berry-filled scat

from the woods to the beach? If my eyes are closed,

maybe he will think I’m dead and leave. Now I can

smell him. Grass and wintergreen. I don’t move.

Can’t look. His hoof is stepping on my hair. My hair.

Will he eat it? Is that his wet nose against my cheek,

his rough tongue? Will he bite, or is this how he gives

kisses? I open my eyes. His are beautiful. We stare

at one another. I see spots. Closing them again, I wait. . . .


SUSAN TERRIS’ recent books are Familiar Tense (Marsh Hawk) 2019; Take Two: Film Studies (Omnidawn) 2017, Memos (Omnidawn) 2015; and Ghost of Yesterday: New & Selected Poems (Marsh Hawk) 2012. She’s the author of 7 books of poetry, 17 chapbooks, 3 artist’s books, and one play. A poem of hers appeared in Pushcart Prize XXXI; and a poem from Memos was in Best American Poetry 2015.