'Her beaming face, sunflower-broad, was filled with this thrill'

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I've lived in the country for thirty years and during that time my wife and I have hit four deer. All of them leapt away over the nearest fence, unharmed, leaving our cars with hundreds of dollars' worth of damage. But, hey, the deer lived. The deer in this father-daughter poem also happily survives. It's by Kevin Casey, who lives in Maine, and is from his book And Waking ...  from Bottom Dog Press.

 

 

DRIVING WEST THROUGH SOMERSET COUNTY

by Kevin Casey

 

The sun climbed the rigging of a mackerel sky,

with me and my daughter following west,

 

and the sudden, thick lashed, chestnut eye

of that poor deer, flashed as we collided.

 

Busted bumper, her bounding towards the pines -

clean-limbed, light, and sapling-sound, she vanished. 

 

Stopping on the shoulder, I dreaded what damage 

my own poor dear and her thick-lashed, chestnut eyes 

 

had suffered, struck by their shared innocence

and that awful force, but her beaming face,

 

sunflower-broad, was filled with this thrill,

with her eager as the deer that the day

 

might move along, and the sun - without

looking down - should keep to its climbing.

 

 

 

American Life in Poetry is made possible by the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Poem © 2016 by Kevin Casey, 'Driving West through Somerset County,' from And Waking  ... (Bottom Dog Press, 2016). Poem reprinted by permission of Kevin Casey and the publisher. Introduction © 2017 by the Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-06.

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