Doe and fawn on grass

Two Poems by Jory Mickelson

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No lies, just my life,
lived wrong-headed

perhaps. The yard
lambent with grass.

Every spring there,
a cottontail, in a bush

a crow. Along the wall,
a doe bedding down.

And though I’ve never
seen one pregnant, each

year a fawn or two— 
once even three, 

all caution, ambling, 
and spotted. Every year 

the seasons passed 
at the empty lot next to 

the four-way stop,
the signs proclaiming:

Gun Show       [mud]
Boat Show      [manure]
Car Show        [pollen]
County Fair    [hay]
Craft Fair        [frost]

This was my life, though
perhaps unremarkable

and only self-evidenced.
A window to look out,

a patch of grass 
where something will

eventually lay itself,
come to rest.



[The earth must be a human thing]

The earth must be a human thing,
the way it burdens and unburdens

itself with snow. Worries stone 
with wind. Throws fits, fist-

fulls of spark and storm, rages
with fire raised from those

furies. To think we used to call
these acts of gods. Who

wants a god so changeable,
able to drop sixty degrees 

in seconds? Who banks our prayers
and promises in fog, where

there is no answering
back? No, the earth appears

in shine and shade, in wrack
and recklessness, entirely

human-made. Its binding-up
and brokenness, it is our own,

whether we decide to stay,
or are able to. 




Jory MickelsonJory Mickelson (they/them) is the author of Wilderness//Kingdom, inaugural winner of the Evergreen Award Tour from Floating Bridge Press and winner of the 2020 High Plains Book Award in Poetry. They live and write in Northwestern Washington amid the moss and mud.

Header photo by Tony Campbell, courtesy Shutterstock. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, art, commentary, and design since 1998.