Call and Response

Call and Response
That summer we learned the doe’s bark
meant come. In dry grass near a barbed wire fence
edging the woods, the fawn’s wobbly body
matched how we felt when we finally understood
what we’d done. Some sounds aren’t meant

to be made lightly. Our girl appeared when
a snowfall hushed the city. Ice burdened
power lines; block by block the city went dark.
I gathered candles, sliced persimmons,
held a prayer to St. Jude.

My mind was deep in a poem. Moonlit snow
crusted the hollyhock: her father and
I must have made that doe’s exhale.
Oh, St. Jude. All the ways we say come, come
in a language we don’t know.