Opal in Beech Grove Shadows

by Shannon Amidon

He doesn’t know I see him
holding the doe’s head
with the same bent elbow
that holds mine. When he grips
her muzzle he uses hands
that eased our firstborn
from my womb. Only now,
instead of yielding hope
he brings an ending, whispers
Go on, you go on, and stop this fight,
as her last breaths wing her out
of this world. When it is done,
he closes her eyes, and sits in the band
of green moss beside her, lingering,
like her fawn across the creek.
Neither can leave her yet.
I’m ashamed, watching this,
though he’s told me
how it is to kill, ashamed
to be jealous of this deer’s
proximity to him, the way
she stepped into focus
while everything else blurred.

Author’s note: These five poems are from the second section of the manuscript “Wish for an Unknown Color,” which tells the story of a crime of passion that takes place in the piney hills of North Louisiana. Another group is forthcoming in Willow Springs.