we paused at the pasture,
on our way home to nap,
and i pointed at my daughter’s window,
see? deer, i said, they are brown and nibbling grass.
my little one craned her neck around in her car seat,
gazed out the window at the creatures
who appeared to be placidly grazing
beyond trees which had not fully burst from bud to leaf,
so we could peek through and see.
one, two, she counted softly.
that’s right, i replied, there are two deer.
i thought about deer tics and lyme disease,
my maternal monologue muttering reminders
to be vigilant so my kids wouldn’t get sick.
more deer, my daughter said as i started to drive,
so i paused again, long enough to notice
the smaller of the two deer limping,
its front leg broken completely back.
my stomach filled with pins,
repulsion mixed with sorrow and shame
as i pulled away to take my daughter home for her nap.