Previous: Nando the Cat reads “People Are a Living Structure Like a Coral Reef”
Next: Roger Bennett reads "This Be The Verse"



View count:3,507
Last sync:2020-10-10 20:15
Jane Wong reads Brigit Pegeen Kelly's poem, "Dead Doe".

Jane Wong:

Brought to you by Complexly, The Poetry Foundation, and poet Paige Lewis. Learn more:

11 issues of Poetry, subscribe today for $20:

Follow us elsewhere for the full Ours Poetica experience:

#poetry #ourspoetica
My name is Jane Wong and I've chosen "Dead Doe" by Brigit Pegeen Kelly.  I chose this poem primarily for its transformative power, which you'll see as the poem unfolds.

Dead Doe

for Huck

The doe lay dead on her back in the field of asters; no.

The doe lay dead on her back beside the school bus stop: yes.

Where we waited.
Her belly white as a cut pear.  Where we waited: no: off

from where we waited: yes

at a distance: making a distance
we kept, 
as we kept her dead run in sight, that we might see if she chose
to go skyward;
that we might run, too, turn tail
if she came near
and troubled our fear with presence: with ghostly blossoming: with 
        the fountain's 
                                                                   unstoppable blossoming
               and the black stain the algae makes when the water
                                                                               stays near.

We can take the gilt-edged strolling of the clouds: yes.  
But the risen from the dead: no!

The haloey trouble-shooting of the goldfinches in the bush: 
                                     yes: but in season:

kept within bounds, 

not in the pirated rows of corn,
not above winter's pittance of river.

The doe lay dead: she lent
    her deadness to the morning, that the morning might have weight, that
              our waiting might matter: be upheld by significance: by light
                        on the rhododendron, by the ribbons the sucked mint
                                                                             loosed on the air

by the treasonous gold-leaved passage of season, and you

from me/child/from me/

from...not mother: no: 
but the weather that would hold you: yes: 

hothouse you to fattest blooms: keep you in mild unceasing rain, and
       the fixed
                           stations of heat: like a pedaled note: or the held
                                                          breath sucked in, and stay: yes:

but: no: not done: can't be: 

the doe lay dad: she could
do nothing: 

the dead can mother nothing...nothing
but our sight: they mother that, whether they will or no: 

they mother our looking, the gap the tongue prods when the tooth is
         missing, when 
                                                                  fancy seeks the space.

The doe lay dead: yes: and at a distance, with her legs up and frozen,
         she tricked
                                                 our vision: at a distance she was
                                                         for a moment no deer
at all

but two swans: we saw two swans
                                  and they were fighting

                    or they were coupling
                      or they were stabbing the ground for some prize
                        worth nothing, but fought over, so worth that, worth
the fought-over glossiness: the morning's fragile-tubed glory.

And this is the soul: like it or not.  Yes: the soul comes down: yes: comes
into the deer: yes: who dies: yes: and in her death twins herself into swans:
fools us with mist and accident into believing her newfound finery

and we are not afraid
though we should be

and we are not afraid as we watch her soul fly on: paired
as the soul always is: with itself: 
  with others.
                                Two swans...

Child.  We are done for
in the most remarkable ways.