Deer do not tremble, I know this.
My bone and sinew twisted into fallow
slenderness and the tibia twig thin.
Four rods finished with a cloven
hoof planted on rotting leaf mould:
gloomy weight of the gold altar.
The poet’s words are wind-blown apples.
Plucked lute strings vibrate to silence
as I watch Caesar with my velvet eyes,
long ears poised to absorb
the rush of animal clamour that is hushed
in the shells of human skulls.
Despite the blood threat of power
my doe body would not spring away —
no flick of spotted fur into shadow.