So it has been a little while now since I opened a PO box in New Mexico and had the pleasant experience of finding a couple of issues of Whitefish Review in there. Inside those tender pages rests a title, my name, and my words. A poem. And inside the front cover there is a small section that reads “The Decision” copyright 2010 by Daniel Harrington. A small literary magazine, but a great one, and the first poem I’ve ever had truly published, so it is a special moment.
It also means that there are fewer reasons to hold the poem to my chest… it has been published once already, so there isn’t a reason anymore for me to keep it from the blog. I hope you like it.
So, here it is, as published in Whitefish Review, volume 4, issue1 (Summer 2010)
She thrashed and kicked in the other lane.
Dark, just out of town,
I felt bound, compelled to stop.
A Buck knife beneath the seat
deadly sharp, but personal.
I dreaded to bring it.
A yearling doe, just hit,
flailing and failing to find purchase,
to stand though dazed.
Somewhere out there, headlights coming.
I grasped four ankles and dragged
her to the shoulder.
Blood in her ear. Eyes dazed.
I pictured pulling the chin back,
puling steel across that lovely neck.
That final breath.
In the space of my hesitation
she tried, wobbling, to stand,
and nearly fought to a knee.
Was she weak to have been hit?
Or strong to still be alive?
I couldn’t decide.
And what did I know about life?
The knife, or the slimmest of
chances to stand?
She staggered again, and I willed her up.
But she could not.
And I could not.