A poem thinking of orpheus

Colin Criss

I witness a hunting man

and his daughters discover

a fawn, leg-wrapped in the bushy shade

of a still-leafing tree. Submissive and kind

it only tips its ears—they tremble flatly

back as when, newborn, it streaked

first circles around its mother

in the waving grass, soaking wet

from birth and dew. Here,

the fawn begins to call at the people,

a throat-noise like an engine failing

to turn. The hunting man gathers

the fawn in his arms, securing

the legs and knees, the warm body

pressing to his woolen layer.

One child strokes the fawn’s markings—

wild, white with joy—

and then the man slits its throat.

He cuts from its ribs through its gut,

scrapes its acrid soup-stringed hot tripes,

and scuffs ground-rot on them. By its legs

he swings the fawn home, the children

just behind him, following.