"April, Seattle to Missoula"

Apr 28, 2014

When the doe stepped out—
eyes tight on the head beams—
you said your one word
god before I jolted awake,
and then she was gone.
I remembered that Wisconsin night
when I was a child trying to sleep
in the back seat of the blue Rambler,
Father and Mother talking up front.
How white pine and deer glinted
in and out of light, but more
than this—the way
a moment can change you.

How we came first on the wreck
and I saw the man, then the woman.
As though they had pulled off the road
for talk, his arm slung out the window.
His head thrown back as though
the woman had said something hilarious
as she stared out the shattered windshield.
And the velvet buck broken in the ditch?
He listened carefully, too, his great
brown eyes, like hers, slowly emptying.


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Carmen Germain's work has been published in Dos Passos Review, The Madison Review, Natural Bridge, and New Poets of the American West. Cherry Grove published These Things I Will Take with Me.