My Son's Drawing of a Smiling Deer

On the way home in the car
he crayons it brown as my boot.
It's the doe we saw
near our tent on the sandbar,
flood-raw after the runoff.
From the fat potato body
legs curl like sprouts.
Waxy yellow eyes light her
from within. He gives her
a dainty tail.
by our voices on that shore,
the real deer stared,
leaf in mouth, blinked, bolted,
then swam across the river
into trees. The real deer
of my son's vision he graces
with a long smile,
smile of a boy who has seen
something wild return his gaze.
His doe browses in the white meadow
of art paper. No river,
no mountain, no stippled sky.
She is his secret self
brought to light and life,
almost human, almost animal--
a boydeer from the other world.

Ed Harkness | Mudlark No. 13
Contents | His Night Light