Stacia M. Fleegal is the author of two full-length and four chapbook poetry collections. Her poems have appeared in North American Review, Barn Owl Review, Fourth River, UCity Review, decomP‘s Best of 10 Years anthology, Crab Creek Review, Knockout, Best of the Net 2011, NELLE, Menacing Hedge, Literary Mama, Memoir Mixtapes, and more; and were recently nominated for Best of the Net 2017. She is more proud of being named on a Shitty Women of Lit list than of her three Pushcart Prize nominations. Her nonfiction has appeared at Salon, Bustle, Scary Mommy, ESME (Empowering Solo Moms Everywhere), Quaint Magazine, and more. She is director of the Center for Creative Writing (creativingwritingcenter.com). She blogs erratically on motherhood and memoir at anotherwritingmom.wordpress.com, tweets @shapeshifter43, practices yoga, volunteers in service to survivors of domestic violence, makes jewelry, worships the outdoors, and mothers a rock-star kindergartener named Jax.
The fawn can’t be more than a week old, new leggy gait and a brief moment of no fear as she bounds, awkward with ecstasy, into my sunny yard. We notice each other at the same time, freeze for different reasons before she scampers under a hosta to wait for her mother’s call. Next spring, that fawn might be the pregnant doe moving under lilacs to gut the birdfeeders. I am not the fawn, I am the doe now, I remind myself, and anyway, there’s no call coming. Dear hollow, you are full of gendered dangers, overrun of a rocky road infatuated with the river. The doe are most vulnerable, distracted by instinct to breed, an acorn appetite for two, then another’s bleeting need. Smart enough to travel in threes or fours herding the young, but road and rifle are never far. One in four who venture out become guts on the highway, engines shrugging past. Or a grizzly man reasons he must consume her flanks peppered with gun powder, hang her hides where they can’t hide. Any aftermath leaves the fawn under the hosta, the female inside out. You never see a buck, and if you do, he’s alone, and he sees you first. If the hunter is good, it’s the same. The worst crosshair is the crush of no one caring that the scenic perimeter drive around town is a maggoty matricide, a valley’s trail of ribs picked clean, bloat and hollow creeping into all our yards.