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  Permaculture Den Mother
Decoding an Animal’s Winter Journey By Emily MacCabe A Short Story by Lisa Moore
 Day 1
Emma wakes up foggy on a “what is so rare” June morning. After coffee, she tells herself, she’ll feel better, which is important because this afternoon, six pre-adolescent boys will spill off the school bus expecting a lively Cub Scout meeting. Blessedly, Jason is still asleep, so she has a full hour to herself.
Emma stumbles down the stairs while a chipper chickadee chirps. She heads to the kitchen when something out of place catches her eye in the living room below.
Luna, their eight-year-old mutt, smells the deer before Emma sees it, and gives a muffled bark. Emma rubs her eyes but there it is: the unmistakable outline of a reclining deer smack in the middle of her living room rug. The deer is curled so that her nose touches her rump, like a living O, and Emma is sure it is a she because of what is curled beside her: a white-speckled fawn.
“What the hell,” Emma says aloud banging her toe against a chair, star- tling the animal who lifts her slender head exposing a shiny black nose and tall cupped ears, but the doe does not rise, and the fawn does not stir. Emma takes a tentative step toward them and smells their wildness, like mushrooms in earth. She looks toward the door to the outside and sees that it is slightly ajar, a logical explanation of how the creatures entered.
The doe lowers her head again, sniffs at her fawn, and closes her enormous eyes. Emma isn’t sure if she should call a game warden or go back to bed to finish what is likely a dream. Jason’s voice breaks her reverie. “Mom, why are there deer in our house?”
“even in the bitter lees and sediment
New discovery may
lie. The deer in
that beautiful place
lay down their
bones: I must wear mine.”
~from “The Deer Lay Down Their Bones”
by Robinson Jeffers

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