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Tony Gentry

The Injured Deer, Pt. II

Updated: May 17

A little over two years ago, in January, I wrote a covid-adjacent poem about a gimpy deer we’d see from time to time in our backyard. A doe that got along on three legs, her rear left leg dragging, probably from a run-in with a car. I was amazed that she was surviving amidst our maze of streets and our (occasionally) coyote-haunted woods. Here are the last two verses of the poem:

We stood at the window in the ruins of a year that has left our hearts in tangles and our minds afog. Out there behind the house all these months she had limped along, prowling nights loud with howls and honks, bedding down in some thicket to drowse the long days. 

And here she stood in the yard after all this time, so fragile, so resilient, having somehow survived it all. And here we stood, a little ashamed at our brittleness, our comforts, our complaints, in our parallel world we pretend is the only one.

Well, a couple days ago, taking my end-of-day jog along the streets of the Crestwood neighborhood, I looked up and there she was again! We surprised each other, and both of us stopped in our tracks. She was in a grassy ditch between houses, healthy-looking, though her leg had contracted up close to her body in an S-shape, out of the way when she walked. I took out my phone for this picture.

She allowed that, then after a time began to ease away into the yard, seeming unafraid, just tired of looking at me. And that’s when I saw the most heartening thing. Further back in the yard stood a half dozen other deer, including a couple yearling fawns. She’d found her herd! Adopted by a tribe not put off by her disability. Yes, I’m sentimental. Yes, I hear all the complaints about troublesome deer in the suburbs. But honestly, in this week of the solar eclipse, for me, this was the encounter that dazzled.

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May 21

Excellent re-encounter with the deer with disability. If only there were a place for OT/PT in the vet's office, you might have been able to help her. But it seems she's doing quite well -- and what a perfect bookend to have the photo of her back near your home. Thanks for that poem, the photo and the story. Ginger

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