Some time ago, a deer jumped from the ditch into my headlights.

I felt I might as well enjoy the hit—
         Drive hard and fast—
                 Not leave her there to die a painful death.

So now with cancer –
       Jumping out at me.
                 It’s here –
                         Aggressive and confused it presses on –
                                    Too close –
                                             No chance
                                                        To swerve
                                                                    Or brake
                                                                                  Or warn --

Oh yes, I know, like when I’m driving –
           Somewhere in the recess of my mind --
                       I’m going too fast – and kick myself
                                    While wheeling to her tan--

Deep silence –
        Dark steam –
                 Quiet fluids dripping –
Still fit myself –
          Aware death lurks –
                    Bewildered in the darkness…
As life ebbs away
          from one just feeding --
                    exploring –
                                running free --
With keen anticipation of new fawns in spring –
              And of the move to greener pastures for next year –
                           Somewhere with less of carnage for her family
                                     On their paths…

I wonder what she’s feeling now
             Horizon collapsing inward towards her fast --
                       Death’s numbness settling in
                                   As sticky fog hangs in the air around her
                                                Wafting out the lights of prairie night.

I walked back –
         Arriving just in time
                     To see her lay her head down in the grass –
                                   Despairing life -- accepting death –
                                                Her body warm, but gaze now fixed beyond.

‘Lead time’ they say we need
              If deer and cancer’s death be now avoided –
                                    ‘Lift up your eyes and drop your speed –
                                                           The other dashes onward unconstrained’.