MY DEAR

GERALD STERN

This I learned from Angela, a fawn’s
ass has to be clean or he won’t shit,
and if there is no mother to lick him, you have
to use toilet paper, lovingly, this way
you become his mother, you get to name him
and get to find him on Johnson Road, a ’74
Mercury heating up beside him, the owner
in tears, and you, the mother, consoling him
as you both drag the body into the woods
which keeps you calm although your hands are shaking
and you are breathing hard from pushing the one
remaining leg into the ground without
disturbing the bloated stomach of the nose
that wants to stick out of the leaves nor do you
lower the shovel and flatten the ground
for you have babied the universe and you walk
with fear—or care—you walk with care—and wipe
your face with dirt and kiss the murderer.

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