Joan Swift

Norma Jeane: The Deer

There are no antlers. The deer is a doe
lashed to the hood, its head slung sideways
over a fender. The woman covers her eyes
to hide how wind cannot keep sorrow
to itself but lifts and gently lets go
the light-tipped hairs over and over. Crazy
thing--a hoof moves. Spreading her fingers she sees
one ear flicker, a nostril twitch. Oh!

she whispers, it's still alive. And whispers
again, please stop. He is her first husband.
She is not yet Marilyn Monroe. The deer's
blood clots to a dim shine on the wound.
Save it, she pleads. Too late. He shifts gears,
speeds on toward the lights of the brilliant world.

Copyright 1996, Joan Swift

Joan Swift has published three books of poems, the most recent The Dark Path of Our
, Dragon Gate, 1985, a Washington State Governor's Award winner. She is the
recipient of three National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships,
1982, 1990, 1995. Norma Jeane: The Deer is imagined from an incident related in
Gloria Steinem's Marilyn.