The Stag at Eve

By Lesley Jenike Lesley Jenike
In my cries I don’t cease (some dumb bird)
when from the swinging trees a stag at eve

comes prancing, body dappled by the shadows
of dripping leaves. It’s fall, after all, when

the land undoes its lingerie laces
and stands naked for the dark wood, balding

plains, for parking lots slick with strange water,
for hills growing lush in emptiness

and into this scene enters the stag, moon lunate
and swinging on a tether of leather

scored then cured, from one just like him a year
earlier. Some dumb bird, I bid him hello

and goodbye in a shriek so lusty he
turns his expensive head just to curse me.

Source: Poetry (March 2010).


This poem originally appeared in the March 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

March 2010
 Lesley   Jenike


Lesley Jenike earned an MFA from the Ohio State University and a PhD from the University of Cincinnati. Her chapbooks include Folly Garden (2012) and How We Came Ashore (2013). Her full-length collections of poetry include Ghost of Fashion (2009) and Holy Island (2014). The recipient of fellowships and awards from the Academy of American Poets, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Sewanee . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Animals

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.