To Kill a Deer

By Carol Frost b. 1948 Carol Frost
Into the changes of autumn brush
the doe walked, and the hide, head, and ears
were the tinsel browns. They made her.
I could not see her. She reappeared, stuffed with apples,
and I shot her. Into the pines she ran,
and I ran after. I might have lost her,
seeing no sign of blood or scuffle,
but felt myself part of the woods,
a woman with a doe’s ears, and heard her
dying, counted her last breaths like a song
of dying, and found her dying.
I shot her again because her lungs rattled like castanets,
then poked her with the gun barrel
because her eyes were dusty and unreal.
I opened her belly and pushed the insides
like rotted fruit into a rabbit hole,
skinned her, broke her leg joints under my knee,
took the meat, smelled the half-digested smell
that was herself. Ah, I closed her eyes.
I left her refolded in some briars
with the last sun on her head
like a benediction, head tilted on its axis
of neck and barren bone; head bent
wordless over a death, though I heard
the night wind blowing through her fur,
heard riot in the emptied head.

“To Kill a Deer” by Carol Frost from Love and Scorn: New and Collected Poems. © 2000 by Carol Frost. Published by TriQuarterly/Northwestern University Press. All rights reserved.

Source: love and scorn: New and Selected Poems (TriQuarterly Books, 2000)

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Poet Carol Frost b. 1948

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Pets, Living, Nature, Relationships, Death, Animals

 Carol  Frost


Carol Frost was born in 1948 in Lowell, Massachusetts. She studied at the Sorbonne and earned degrees from the State University of Oneonta and Syracuse University. The author of numerous collections of poetry, including Entwined: Three Lyric Sequences (2014), Honeycomb: Poems (2010), The Queen’s Desertion (2006), I Will Say Beauty (2003), Love and Scorn: New and Selected Poems (2000), and the chapbook The Salt Lesson (1976), she . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Pets, Living, Nature, Relationships, Death, Animals

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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