The Robert Watson Literary Prize Poem AUBADE

Spring 2015 / Issue 97

Juliana Daugherty

They must have been so gentle, the deer—

for me to sleep like that, through the garden’s

ruin. Sometime in the night, maybe,

or just after dawn. The softness of them

bearing the teeth & hooves, the timidness

hiding the improbable hunger. So able to tear

& crush, so able to wreck, each neat row yielding

under unimagined heaviness. And now once more

it’s morning: light still weightless, sky

flat blue, and the moon, the night’s diminished

revenant, abandoned there—hanging

over it all like a question never answered. How

I could be one thing so long and then suddenly

not. What walked so softly through me.