Doe at Dusk - Sandy Long Photos

Dusk, and I am rounding a curve in that country road, heading for home in the gathering fade of light. Just enough to softly illuminate the pale form lying in the middle of my lane, legs splayed. Swerve around the doe’s body, lucky that the other lane is empty.

My headlights catch her vacant eye and for that instant, the unseeing orb glows. There is no leaving her there, face turned toward the car whose driver may not see her in time. I double back, stow the car in someone’s driveway, approach the doe, uncertain whether I, alone, can move her. Only one way to know.

Grasp the forelegs, still and jutting from the deep chest, where blood runs. Pull toward the road’s edge. The body slides easily. The head lingers in its place as her neck stretches long. Grasp the hind legs, drag again and all but her head is off the road. Slide my hands under the skull, under the neck. Something damp. Lift and gently place. Once more.

Suddenly, the head springs backward against my hands. In the shock of it, I see the swollen udder, worn teats. A fawn, somewhere.

It’s still a long road home. I take it slowly, Peter Mulvey’s "Road to Mallow" for comfort, a few deep breaths against death.


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