"The Dead Doe" by Gustave Courbet, 1857
The doe, at a dead run, was dead
the instant the truck hit her:
In the headlights I saw her tongue
extend and her eyes go shocked and vacant,
Launched at a sudden right angle-say
from twenty miles per hour south to fifty
miles per hour east-she skated
many yards on the slightest toe-edge tips
of her dainty deer hooves, then fell
slowly, inside the speed of her new trajectory,
not pole-axed but stunned, away
from me and the truck’s decelerating pitch.
She skidded along the right lane’s
fog line true as a cue ball,
until her neck caught a sign post
that spun her across both lanes and out of sight
beyond the edge. For which, I admit, I was grateful,
the road there being dark, narrow, and shoulderless,
and home, with its lights, not far away.
"Highway 12, Just East of Paradise, Idaho" by Robert Wrigley,
from Earthly Meditations: New and Selected Poems. © Penguin, 2010.