National Poetry Month, Day 19: “Deer between fallen branches” by Ely Shipley


Deer between fallen branches

Snow fills the eyes of the winter
animal. She’s like a photograph

of himself as a child, feet dangling
over the side of a boat, skimming

the water’s surface. His bare chest
lit from sun shimmering off

the lake. The eye drowns
in what it still might see. Love,
don’t you dare

touch the velvet muzzle, cool flank,
gray hoof. Desire, a slim antler,
the teething he quiets with a mouthful

of snow. Wind gallops
through the trees. Above
a branch breaks
sharp from his skull.

Ely Shipley

Ely Shipley’s first book, Boy with Flowers, won the 2007 Barrow Street Press book prize judged by Carl Phillips, the 2009 Thom Gunn Award, and was a Lambda Literary Award finalist. His writing appears in the Western Humanities Review, Prairie Schooner, Fugue, Gulf Coast, Phoebe, Greensboro Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Diagram, Barrow Street, Third Coast, and elsewhere. He holds a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Utah and currently teaches literature and writing at Baruch College-CUNY.

Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →