white-faced fawn

white-faced fawn

A Poem by jaye river

dewy grass in late spring rustling under feeble footsteps, the soil that nurtures the leaves is wet and dark. a fawn rubbed his face into the soil, an attempt to cover up his snow white fur, but the mud washed off each time he drank from the stream (if not from the rain). there was no fooling his mother’s hatred, no tricking her disdain - as his body was light brown but he was born with a white face. like it was dipped in sweet milk or snow, permafrost features and eyes like blue light, he looked at the other fawns - soft brown fur and speckled white. bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh. hardly twelve months out of the womb he left. without the love of a mother, in the dark soil he laid to rest. 

in his short life, he looked up at the empty sky and wondered what it was like - to feel a mother lick a tuft of fur on his head, to be guided when learning how to walk, rather than getting stomped into the dirt. maybe it was instinct, maybe it was fear, maybe it was just hate. the little deer bowed down to the stream, in his reflection he saw an ugly creature that was hated for the sake of hate, bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh. he blinked into the water and asked

mother, was i made from your rib? then, shouldn’t it hurt you too when you tried to crush mine? i’m running out of things to say to justify what you do, i’ll just lock myself away and lick my wounds.

he lay soft in the grass, the leaves bent back in his shape. the grief he carried in his heart festered like a cancer, rotting his teeth and made him too weak. summer comes when spring is done, and somewhere nearby, tumbling down the grassy hill,  soft the breeze is on the lawn, a mother cries for her son, gone too soon, the white-faced fawn.

of course i don’t hate you. of course i couldn't let you be. i am your mother, every part of you came from me

the air is honey sweet, grass dewy and glowing jade. insects buzz and flutter by in a lazy haze humid evening. well covered as he once tried - providing nutrients that feeds the grass - within the soil his body lies embedded in this place. he couldn’t save his mother from her own hate, he couldn’t live with giving her so much grace, and in his very bones he felt the pain that comes from living in a body inflicted with a deeply rooted hate only a mother could sink her teeth into, the fawn with a white face.

© 2024 jaye river

Author's Note

jaye river
trying a different formatting. this still feels a bit too heavy handed but i will continue to edit it. any suggestions or comments are welcome and helpful. also hi, it's been a while.

My Review

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It reminds me of the idea that mothers love unconditionally...they might love and hate their own children all at once, finding them a burden, disrupting their own comfortable lives having to care for another.
It seems this poem almost had to be written in this form otherwise the story might have come across too disconnected.
I feel for this fawn...and at times felt this way...but eventually understood I was loved in the best way she could...and how she was raised had contributed much to the partial coldness.

Posted 6 Months Ago

Prose poems are a tough row to hoe. Most readers' minds have been trained to read prose and verse in entirely different ways. That said the early version of this is quite engaging. A strong story with intriguing metaphors. One small suggestion: whenever I use this format I find it helpful to keep in mind that as with other forms of poetry, the last image of a line being enjambed still needs to pop. So the formatting of lines is especially important at those inflection points.

If you can find his work, a good modern example of this would be John Ash. While he is not an easy read at times, he would I think give you a few examples to help get over the hump as it were.

Merry Christmas


Posted 6 Months Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on December 26, 2023
Last Updated on June 6, 2024


jaye river
jaye river

hello, i'm hoping to make friends and get feedback on my poetry. i'm 25 years old. feel free to say hi! i'm t.s. eliot's biggest fan more..

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