Throwback Thursdays! We’re bringing back some of our favorite pieces from the last 30 years of Scribendi.

The Doe
Elizabeth Bradfield – University of Washington – 1992

My eyes bend to gray sand,
are keyed to small, pink shells,
not to hooves, not bone.
At first I didn’t notice her.
She lay as she must have fallen,
a quick death, no struggles to rise
and climb back up the overhanging bank.
Her legs splayed out in awkward angles,
head twisted so her deep eyes
drew in the sky.

The tide had cleaned her, washed away her blood.
I could see the smooth, pale muscle
of her thigh, her thin bone
picked bare by waves and gulls.
She was beautiful.

I imagine her as she must have fallen
from the green bank above her,
body arced in triumphant leap
so pain was a surprise.
Head up, nostrils wide, her last spring
a gesture of freedom, of strength.
And somehow her shattered body,
cold and still on the damp sand,
retains that joy, that liberty,
so I am moved
to just once leap so strong into the air
uncaring how the earth will catch me.