Athena Kildegaard, "Tenderness"



My friend, I am driving toward
your house to move furniture,
to make a place for death.

Last night a fawn orbited the hood
(inside, me, my husband, my son, his girl)
and fell to the ditch. I cried to the dead.

Today a fawn by the road looks at me—
I've barely started toward you,
barely prepared for the dying—

its white spots clouds
or stars. I plead once, not to you or your man,
but to the dead. (Mother.)

This state highway, that gravel road,
this carved bed, that rocking chair (boundless),
any tender place for death.


Athena Kildegaard, the author of three books of poetry, lives in Morris, Minnesota.