I had a canoe that took me into the forest I read about. It was fleet and I asked no questions. I saw the careless embroidery of the sky above me. I was small. I was embracing. And I was dear all my life. My instrument is silent. I never learned to play. But it sits poised in my arms like an amber deer that I'll give my life for. What does it sound like? Why haven't I tried?
She crept into my arms like a red flower a stranger gives me. She is tame and soft. In a low voice, I tell her stories of when I was a girl. I bring her fruit from the brook of my own glad tidings. I overflow and I almost forget her. My hair is wet and I feel I can be alone. I know other songs. But what about my deer? She's sleeping. I fit an arrow through my bow. I kill so she eats. She says if only I'd been a better mother.
From Delivered by Sarah Gambito. Copyright © 2009 by Sarah Gambito. Used by permission of Persea Books, Inc. (New York). All rights reserved.