By Dolan Morgan
I open the deer with a knife and put my bags inside. It’s dusk in the cul-de-sac. Mothers call their children back for dinner. Kitty mews and slinks around my ankles. I scoop her up and shove her head-first through the ribs of the deer, plus my L.L. Bean pack.
Before I move in the rest of my furniture (bed, lamp, dresser, desk, chair), the deer turns its head to look at me and says, I’m very uncomfortable, you know.
Me too, I say.
I think I’ll be a lot more comfortable, the deer says, if you don’t live inside my body.
I think I’ll be a lot more comfortable if I do, I say.
And it’s true. I am so much more comfortable here inside the deer. I have everything I need. A bed, a lamp, a dresser, a desk and a chair. And Kitty. She mews and slinks around my ankles. I am inside the deer and covered in life. Alan (the deer) trundles about the wood with me. We drink from the stream. Rest near a clearing. Scuttle past a family of rabbits. Inside the deer my life is gentle and free. As free as the deer that carries me. Though I must admit a few misgivings. Other deer avoid us. Alan struggles to carry me, stumbles over small branches. Breathes heavily, cries often. Alan tells me he is lonely. I tell him that I’m here. And that so is Kitty. She mews and slinks around his heart. Can’t you feel that?, I say. That’s love.
On a Saturday morning, the bullet zips right past my ear and lodges in Alan’s lung while I’m reading a book. I lose my page. Alan doesn’t say a thing. Fresh air spills through the hole into my library. It’s the first breeze I’ve felt in years. I call through the hole whatever I can, but Alan crumbles to the ground. I drop my book and smell the grass. The dresser collapses and clothes roll over our intestine floor. Kitty runs across kidneys, confused and afraid.
When the hunter opens the deer to find me, I’ve already cleared a space for him, for his fur hat and gun. It’s dusk in the cul-de-sac, but there’s room in here for everyone. I know you’re uncomfortable, I say, but it’s right here, what you’re looking for, inside Alan, inside me. I slink slowly around Alan’s heart to show him. To show him we have nothing but time.
Photo by Michelle Johnsen, Roadkill Deer