What I was before and then after
I was bitten by the glorious white-tailed buck
were as far removed as velvet and bone.
Deer don’t bite. I was that naïve.
I dropped my cone of dog food to the pavement.
A claret bruise blossomed in my soft underarm.
None of us knows why we are free
or not free. Nothing with so many thorns
in its belly could ever be fed by hand.
Velvet peeled away from my heart,
my delicate pericardium, shocked
that something beautiful did not love me.
I grew six terrible inches.
My bones hardened
into their permanence.