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The Stag at Eve

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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)

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

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The Stag at Eve

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  • 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 Writers’ Conference, she is an assistant professor at the Columbus College of Art and Design.

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