There was never really a child.
There was only a herd
of mule deer, ragged at the ears,
grazing in the soft pasture
and then nesting beside the gravel path
we walked daily, holding hands.
There were mountains.
There were thistles,
their throats thorned with purple needles.
There was even a snake swallowing
a baby rabbit, but there was never
a child, never daily illness
strung limp from the trees
like wet sheets. There were only deer
bunked down beside cottonwoods
bailing out armfuls of white wooly seeds
so that even in June there was snow.