Doe, Hunted

Michelle S. Reed

When Bambi’s mother died, I cried for hours,

          terrified my father, who told me over and over again

                     that none of it was real — the rabbit, the deer, the man

          in the woods with the gun or the blood that came after,

but twenty years later I meet a man old enough

          to have a daughter like me. He sways on his barstool

                     as he whispers, those hips will get you killed,

           sweetheart, draws an imaginary woman in the air

with one hand, scotch slipping from his glass, cigarette

          rising and falling in his lips like a gull

                     in high tide. A girl like you should be careful

          after sunset, he says, a girl like you, all curve. He empties

his glass, grazes my waist with one finger as I walk away,

          like he thinks my body is a trigger

                     he can pull. But I’ll keep you safe, darlin’, he drawls,

          I won’t let anything come for you in the dark.


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