36 Hours

36 hours

by Carole Richard Thompson

We see them at the same moment;
the doe first, emerging from the woods.
Our bedroom window frames
her aristocratic pose, tawny
rippling muscles, eyes wary.
She quietly moves forward, turns
her proud head back; a signal.
We crouch behind the curtain,
out of her sight, just as the first fawn
wobbles into view, followed quickly
by another baby, somewhat smaller.
Mother doe keeps them there a few
seconds more, as we hold our breath.
Slowly she passes beyond our garden,
then she moves forward, turning
at the road; leading the tentative twins
into safety of dense woods.
Your arms circle my waist, and you say,
“How beautiful.”

This morning, almost the same time,
the doe slides past our window again.
Our eyes quickly spot the larger fawn,
following a few feet behind, leaving a void.
Later, we hear a workman found,
near the edge of the woods, a fawn,
curled perfectly; still and cold. You say,
“It must have been weak; this was
Nature’s way.” I touched my stomach,
remember the tiny life I never got to hold.

Author’s Comment: “36 Hours” is a poem close to my heart. I kept wondering how the mother doe handled her loss. I felt such a kinship with her as I wrote the poem. I realized, at last, part of my grief was in remembering a miscarriage I had early in my marriage. Can a man understand the depth of that grief? Maybe.

Bio: Carole Richard Thompson moved to Blairsville, GA, in the North Georgia mountains 20 years ago. She joined the North Carolina Writer’s Network, and studied writing under Nancy Simpson. Her first short story, “A Bag of Sugar for Paula” was published in “The Liguorian”, and later in the anthology, “Christmas Presence”. Another short story, “The Uniform” was published in the anthology, “Clotheslines”. Her poems have appeared in the anthologies, “A Sense of Place” and most recently, “Echoes Across the Blue Ridge”. Carole presently serves as NCWN-West’s Georgia Representative.

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3 thoughts on “36 Hours

  1. I think at least a man who is the primary caretaker for his daughter can. Reading this poem still brings me to tears as I imagine how I would feel if I lost my daughter. She is nearly six now, and I feel as if I have been carrying her for 70 months . . . at least I feel she has 70 months worth of weight in my heart.

    • Your daughter is receiving the most precious gift you can give her: your undivided love and care. She will have a sense of her own value and blossom. A child of divorce, I cherished every moment I could spend with my real father. I recently wrote a poem about the time he took me to the LA State Fair and I had him all to myself for 8 hours. Glad “36 hours” found a place in your heart.

  2. Dear Carole– you’ll find so many women who can relate, and a few men, I know, because my husband was one. We were fortunate to follow with later children, but in some way, the first was always with us. Once the others arrive, however, the focus must be on them. With Scott, we shrink from the possibility of greater loss.

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