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    Poem: Errand

    David Baker

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    The fawn was
    born beneath the hydrangea I had mistaken,
    for a year, as a young oak.

    I squatted there. No
    fear. It lay alone
    in the leaves, and at my near touch a tuft

    of its skin (you couldn’t
    call it
    hide, barely fur, still birth-

    smeared in smatters
    of pale gray spots) –
    one tuft of skin quivered, as

    though cold.
    Even this first day
    the doe had gone to find herself

    something to eat
    in a better yard. Error on
    error, a life amasses.

    Do you believe
    the old poet – not
    to be born is reckoned best

    of all?
    So let’s ask
    the bird dog gagging at his chain

    two yards over, bloody with boredom.
    Ask the night-
    black vultures, kettling

    over the neighbor’s burn pile.
    I had somewhere
    to go. I don’t know where, but

    how could it
    matter, so much, to go?
    Smell of snow an hour

    before it falls,
    then doesn’t. Soft leather
    nose of the fawn, wet in my palm

    where it nestled its warm
    jaw in. To make
    a cathedral (I should have stayed) of such things…


    reprinted from Scavenger Loop: Poems by David Baker, copyright © 2015 David Baker, with permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
    Image from www.watercolourflorals.blogspot.com

    painting of hydrangeas
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