Poems by Laurette Folk

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My Anima, My Doe

by Laurette Folk

From Canary Summer 2017

Laurette lives between the Bass and Danvers Rivers and walks her dog daily along the last wooded trails of Green Hill, home to foxes, coyotes, fishers, and the occasional deer.

A queen doe

Graced me on the back lawn
After my twins were born

Bowed her great head
For a blessing in the rain.

I walked the city woods
Every morning to get out

To clear my head, look for her
In the soft, littered marsh.

Once I found her eating acorns on the trail.
With neither faith nor fang, we were kin

The queen hesitated, and my dog
Moved between us—a breach.

I did not hear a horn
When she rose up,

Her hooves tapping at the hoods of cars
Landing on the snowy bank

On the other side of the river.

It was not I who killed her.

At night my daughter writhed
Possessed, in her bed.

(You wouldn’t hurt them, my mother said)

In the morning, my neck split,
Pain to accompany dulled pain.

Hushed cries, soiled diapers,
Pills in the drawer,

From the window, white pillows of snow—

I know this to be true:
She didn’t have a herd.

She didn’t have other bodies
To keep her warm

She had eaten all of the Scotch pines
Half way up.

She had eaten things she
Shouldn’t eat.

The Vets pitched tents back in those woods, then.
I had found remnants—bottles, sleeping bags

Clothing, junk food. Nips. Would I find her
Hanging from a tree, skinned?

Are we not always beholden to hungry mouths?

One morning I held the
Idyllic white city in my palm

Its white spires above whiter snow.
Below—the fisher’s killing grounds,

Littered with feathers, limbs, skulls, bones.
My dog had found a buried hide,

The brown of the hide—I knew.

I went alone at sunrise with a shovel
Scared the hawks away from the carcass

I hacked at the ice and pain buzzed in my hands
I hacked at the ice and found

Not a hoof, but a paw.

In March, the river began to thaw.
I stood at the top of the icy trail

Debating my precarious descent
When I saw her

Bounding from ice floe to ice floe
As light as the air of eternity.

Your deer is dead, said a neighbor, in April.
Her body had been photographed.

Her body had been ravaged.

I asked the woman who collected the heroin needles
From the banks for her whereabouts.

I picked daffodils for a nosegay.
We searched the north and east sides

Of Green Hill and found neither hide nor
Hoof, nor bone.

Late August and the undergrowth consumed
Every last thing.

Rumor had it a herd of deer swam to Misery Island
And back. People in kayaks saw them gliding through

The water like wraiths.

But here on the north side of Green Hill, a rustle
In the dead wood of the brambles,

Beyond the old growth trees,
Beyond the thatched grasses of the marsh

The white off her back
Looked nothing like surrender.

A version of this poem was published in the author's book Totem Beasts (May 2017).

Things with Wings

by Laurette Folk

From Canary Fall 2017

An angel with dirty feet grabs ahold
To something in that tree

His filigree wings beat the air
He is more faint than fair

A distant cousin, perhaps, to Marquez’s
Old Man with Enormous Wings

Whom they put in a cage
And sold tickets to the pious

To gawk at and the sinners to tease.
I’m sure if I had a ladder I could climb

To him and look into his yellow
Eye and know that such angels

Have the same aches and pains
As I, the only thing separating us

Would be a height of twelve feet or more.
Lo, his wings open full on, and I swear

The world went dark for a moment,
As he fluttered, fumbled, up, up. He knew

(they all know) when you’re just too close.
Back on the north side of Green Hill,

The egrets pruned and waited for the tide
To cover the shopping cart, the bike, the cabinet

And all the things we pretend not to see
The egrets pruned and waited for the tide

To unfold in fish, the grand dame,
A river herself in curves and elegance,

Bent toward the water as if to say
What have we here? I watched the lesser

Egrets do nothing as the breeze
Excused itself from the trees.

Previously appeared in the author’s collection Totem Beasts (Big Table, 2017)

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