In the evening,
a buck’s antlers
cradle light
at the edge of a field.

Snow has cleared
to show hard-packed
mud, grass kept

green, phlox and
dog-tooth violets pushing
tentative stalks
from dirt.

Silently, the buck
pauses to drink snowmelt
beside a half-
tree split by wind.

As he lifts
his heavy head,
evening’s shifting light
casts a labyrinth of twisted
root and horn.


Jessica Poli is the author of The Egg Mistress (Gold Line Press, 2013). Her work has appeared in Sixth Finch, elimae, South Dakota Review, and elsewhere. She is the editor of Birdfeast, and is currently studying in Syracuse University’s MFA program.