I understood that the doe had not died on impact,
and that it was mangled behind my car on the flat, curved road.
I stopped right in the middle of the double-yellow line, and waited.
All my windows were down. Nothing moved.
There were no lights on the flat plain.
The air was crisp. Nothing was on the radio.
The sun before I hit the deer was full, aching, and burning.
It looked like a tomato, or a badly infected eye.
And you could hear the bells on the necks of the emaciated cows, clinking and lost.
A calf bleating in the field. Someone somewhere starting their car two towns over.
The place was that quiet.
I called Cassandra an hour later, and she said that I should’ve gone back and killed it.
How?, I thought. By driving over its head?
I learned two years later that even the blood will evaporate
if you give it a chance. It will rise up into a big, red cloud
That will lug itself low over the flat, burnt country.
From up and down I-88. To my parents’ home in Wheaton.
To a murky Denver reservoir: it comes, rains, falls, and goes.
Like a lonely traveller, it picks up knick-knacks along the way.
To My Grandmother in the Hospital, Who Lost the Grit in Her Voice
Back in Denver, I used to wander up and down Colfax at night by myself.
I’d be ankle-deep in snow with old running shoes, and I’d just walk.
There was this bright row of stucco condos down on 16th.
When I was feeling especially not-brilliant, I would just stand there
in the goldish light of the windows and watch the way people’s shadows
changed the color of the gray snow and blue ice on the gritty, salted sidewalk.
I waited there every Monday night for months, naming each flake of snow as it fell.
I once passed a woman who was so hungry she called me her father.
I was so lonely that I didn’t correct her.
We looked at each other for a moment, then she kept pushing her cart down the road.
That night I walked past the condos and didn’t stop.
I walked to my car and got inside.
The theory is that when you walk in the from the old, everything around you is cold.
But that night it was snowing, and I drove through the snow and felt very brave.
I merged onto I-70 and tailed a big white truck.
A plow sped down the opposing lane.
You couldn’t see the city.
The lights were hidden.
Everything felt very secret and clean.
A train pulled an endless line of wind turbine blades down the tracks.
My mind was empty, and my stomach was growling.
Hunter Thane Therron currently lives in Hanoi. His debut chapbook, Whitewater Blues, was published by Zoetic Press this past August.
His writing appears in the Superstition Review, the Barely South Review, the Little Patuxent Review and others. He will attend a residency in Finland this March after gold mining in Australia.