Contents | March 2001
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The Atlantic Monthly | March 2001
Hear Robert Wrigley read this poem (in RealAudio)
Highway 12, Just East of Paradise, Idaho
by Robert Wrigley
The doe, at a dead run, was dead
the instant the truck hit her.
In the headlights I saw her tongue
extend and her eyes go shocked and vacant.
Launched at a sudden right angle—say
from twenty miles per hour south to fifty
miles per hour east—she skated
many yards on the slightest toe-edge tips
of her dainty deer hooves, then fell
slowly, inside the speed of her new trajectory,
not pole-axed but stunned, away
from me and the truck's decelerating pitch.
She skidded along the right lane's
fog line true as a cue ball,
until her neck caught a signpost
that spun her across both lanes and out of sight
beyond the edge. For which, I admit, I was grateful,
the road there being dark, narrow, and shoulderless,
and home, with its lights, not far away.
Copyright © 2001 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved. The Atlantic Monthly; March 2001; Highway 12, Just East of Paradise, Idaho - 01.03; Volume 287, No. 3; page 66.