You’re wishing for better days gone past
when fewer skeleton arms grasped backwards,
towards the sky, towards the hills, towards oak woods, towards grass plains.
You wish for days when there were fewer skeletons to try and do anything,
when there was just a flash of a thought in your mind
of what your life would be as an adult.
Sometimes it feels like the bone, the horn, the ivory, outweighs the rest of your body.
Your eyes look like gouges and you know it.
Inky black gouges.
There’s one spark of light and a flash of amber to show you’re alive.
Your hair used to be red, but now it is mousy brown.
It’s rough to your fingers if you wash it,
oily, slick, and dark if you don’t.
You’ve left footprints across Europe, across Asia,
and you’d be proud, but your feet ache.
Your bones ache. Your muscles ache. Your heart aches.
You’ve outlived far too many people.
You know you don’t have long yet.
You wish that woman,
that woman with the dark hair and the dog tooth necklace
and the eyes that glittered like fool’s gold,
hadn’t told you your true form was a deer.
You’ve seen deer.
Most people have.
Graceful, spry deer.
Something for families to point at as they drive by.
You’ve lost all your grace and you’re clumsy.
You’re not a pest, you hope not, hope that you escaped that in childhood,
when you asked too many questions.
So now you have your fear. You were shot at, many times. You won’t hunt. You won’t ever hunt.
You know how it feels to be hunted.
People move to the other side of the road when you walk by. You don’t know why.
You can’t remember why.
There’s a gaping hole in your brain. You were pretty sure you were shot in the leg.
There’s a hole in your brain. There might be two, soon.
The skeletal arms are so heavy. They press on the hole. It hurts.
You still have fear, even without the sound of guns firing and people screaming and the sky afire.
The wolves are coming.
They were shadows, but now they’re wolves.
They want to eat you.
You know it.
They’ll kill you and eat you.
No one knows about the wolves.
You should have listened to the woman.
A war is no place for a deer.