Deer Hunter


Carolyn Dunn

"Deer Woman: Cherokee, Choctaw, North Carolina, Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma. A supernatural who appears as a human woman and as a doe by turns. She is said to bewitch men and women and eventually cause their deaths into descent and prostitution."--- Professor Paula Gunn Allen, Grandmothers of the Light.

From the desert
across a breath of sky
I hear her voice
a tiny spark-like
flame of sound
somewhat like a flash
of eye in a headlight.
An adrenaline rush
heart pumping
madness to the ear
and she was saying
my name
over and over.
I heard it through
the eyes of my
bright sun child
tasted it on his tongue
tasted my blood
upon his teeth
white and gleaming
under a fool moon
and blazes of moving stars
and Moon in motion.
I heard her voice
when he looked at me
in sunlight
when he wouldn't look at me
in sunlight
when he knew
what he had done.

I heard her voice
in desert plains.
Vast windless prairies
of sand. rock. death.
In this desert
they have created
an oasis.
She speaks the price

she speaks through the eyes
of another one.
A man whose tongue
tastes of alcohol
and chlorine.
His eyes are dark
and he presses up against me
forcing me against the wall
of my own desires
and that is of forgetting
the sun-child
who looked at me
wouldn't he
couldn't he
look at me.
I've learned about icing
and penalty boxes
it's passion yes
my body sparkles
under dust
under him
but there is shame there
I have not named it
for myself.
He and he
try to do it for me.
But I will not let

She speaks across
oceans of broken
terraces and thick air
winds that come from nowhere
on wings of darkness and
thick deep water.
Is this madness---
the madness of knowing
through the eyes of a deer?
She was trying to warn me---
and I looked into her eyes
perhaps now I can save myself.
now I have looked down
seeing her hooves
solid black shining
bits of ground glass
and dried pieces of bone
I look to the ground
and see my feet
hooves covered with dust
and stained with blood
pours from the open wound
of my breasts
to the earth
where it dries
and forms red stones
and I shape them into a necklace
of deep crimson
nearly black.
Her feet have become mine
her voice in my head
as I look to the ground
the car still running
those are my eyes
full of headlit fear
across the night air.
And I know
this madness
this animal rage
this taste on my tongue
and lips.
Her voice roars from my
like stars
and I understand.
I have seen the deer
in the glass of the window
when the moon makes
a reflection at night
and I can see myself
a desert plain
the madness of men.
I did not look down in time.
And caught my eyes
in my own headlights.
Threw myself on the dash
and drove and drove
until I could drive
no more.

From Outfoxing Coyote, That Painted Horse Press.

© 2001 Carolyn Dunn

Return to the Carolyn Marie Dunn website