Once, a deer wandered into my nowhere
town–a refugee escaping death
from the nearby hunting preserve.
She graced the alley behind my yard,
surveying it as if ancestral memory
told her of a past without houses here.
I watched her from my kitchen window,
and it seemed she stared steadily back.
Then, slowly, she blinked–
and the walls crumbled to earth,
and the earth sprouted skyscraper trees,
and the trees hummed with the wind,
and the wind made ripples in the fields.
Only the sky remained unchanged,
endless, and that was familiarity enough.
I watched a year pass above me.
Snow fell thick and quiet.
Thunderstorms, with no windows to rattle,
roared into unfazed forest.
The sky ran blue, deeper than ocean,
and in the night galaxies swirled,
high above stretching, yearning treetops.
That much was still home. In a town
ten miles from the nearest traffic light,
with few buildings taller than a maple,
the sky feels much the same
as it must have millennia ago.
The deer stood a dozen trees away.
She lowered her head to graze,
and when she raised it,
home had come back to where I was.
Maybe she hadn’t escaped death.
Maybe she had wandered from the corn fields
that hold the town quiet for miles,
or the woods down the road
where children play at castles in the fall.
She headed further into town
as if taking inventory of her own world.
I felt myself in two homes at once watching her–
goddess of the fields,
patron saint of drowning
in all this nothing.