"Completing Margaret's Deer" by jim bourey

Updated: Apr 5


In the ditch a deer

carcass, no head

from You Are Happy by Margaret Atwood


It was a silent beauty

I found, had yearling antlers,

much more than the horny buttons

of a fawn. Its fleshy muscles

would provide a few meals.

Our bodiless head was perched

on a snowbank, staring glassily

at the woods across the road.


We’re miles apart,

you and I, though both

near the same border – you above

and me a few miles below. So,

is it too far for coyotes to drag

such a heavy body away, snacking

as they go, eating the good parts

first, the more difficult pieces gnawed

carefully, there in your beachside ditch?


I carried it home, the head, put it in a bag to bury

when Spring would allow shovels in the earth.

Tell me, what did you do with the rest of the bones?



jim bourey is a poet from the northern edge of the Adirondack Mountains, formerly from Delaware. His chapbook, Silence, Interrupted, was published by The Broadkill River Press in 2015, and his collection The Distance Between Us was published by Cold River Press in August 2020. A collaborative collection with Linda Blaskey is forthcoming from Pond Road Press. His work has also appeared in Gargoyle, Broadkill Review, Mojave River Review, Rye Whiskey Review, and other journals and anthologies. He is a contributing editor for The Broadkill Review.