The Stag by Tricia Marcella Cimera

The Stag

I crouch in the ferns in a forest by the road,
staring at my car: the shattered windshield,

the crushed hood, the glass. . . .and blood.
My husband’s suit hangs twisted in the bag,

my terrified dog has fled.. I can’t remember
exactly when the Stag leapt at me, crashed

through the window, held me down with his
hoofs.. His eyes.. . How long did he hold me?

I don’t know.  Long enough.. . .He told me
his secrets, I woke from being like. . . .dead.

Now I crouch in the ferns in a forest by the road,
bones and guts and blood leaping in my skin,

skirt and blouse torn off, hair hanging down.
I will never go back to my house, my husband,

his perfect suits, the spineless dog.. . . .I will
follow the Stag.. . . . .This is what is meant

when they talk of being. . . . . . . . . .saved.

by Tricia Marcella Cimera

Editor’s Note: This poem was the first prize winner of College of DuPage’s Emerging Writers Contest 2017, and it is easy to see why—the startling narrative supports the speaker’s journey to redemption from the depths of a frightening (or perhaps fortuitous) crash.