You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation


Sometime after the cherry branches fill with new green
the first foaling begins, the fawns standing within an hour or two—
their reddish coats dappled with white—to drink from the lake
tended by does, timid by nature but aggressive around their young;    
and as green goes to red and brown, the plaintive intense stags—
having polished their horns against tree trunks and the earth—
indicate they are ready, and the battle of besting begins,
of pushing and butting with their racks and with all their strength,
until the victors gather their harems, jealously guarding them
from the defeated, who are done fighting, but alert to stealing a doe
that strays; now instinct is strongest, and the stags
think little of challenging humans. For this reason,
in October, we lasso and bind them (with difficulty,
given their bulk), and after the horns are sawed off,
the stags—weeping for what they have lost—flee to nearby groves.
This fantasy of finding something that’s yours and making it your own—
as with darkness or light, as with romance—tells those
who set eyes on it that a momentous event is nearing.