Sebastian, you are with me again,
lodging in the cool warrens of my mind.
I heard your voice in the mouth of a classmate
who leaned over and whispered,
Do you see them? Three deer,
sapling legs flickering among bare shrubs,
their bodies carved lean and stark by winter.
Blue shadows on the dimpled snow, it is easy
for them to pass through briers.
Pliant ears, pelt stretched
over haunches unscathed.
It was never easy for you,
to be slashed by tangled branches,
geometric like cracked glass.
You asked questions like a deer
starting to run. One hoof, then a clumsy
pitch into a two-beat gallop
hurtling forward despite
my refusal to meet
your soft eyes, avoiding
the taut fear that was like glimpsing
my own terrible reflection.
You plucked the hunter’s
arrows from your flank and asked me
why I looked so mean. I hid
a quiver behind my back.
Sebastian, when I want good luck,
I still tap the antlers mounted on my wall.
RACHEL HERTZBERG is a rising sophomore at Bryn Mawr College. Her poetry can also be found in Parallax Online, Words Dance, and The Rusty Nail. In her spare time she likes to explore and write letters. She is originally from Minneapolis.