Doug Ramspeck

The winter my father became antlers,
it snowed so often overnight I expected

nothing but white. But there were
blood drops in the woods, hoof prints

shaped like gouged triangles. My father
carried me often like a dead deer 

on his shoulders up the stairs to bed,
my arms and legs gripped before his body,

my fallen neck bobbing. The eyes
were lacquered black whenever he ferried

the creatures into the yard and dropped them
on the snow. And the stars some nights

were ovaries. And the moon was an albino
testicle. Antlers, he told me, could grow up

to half an inch a day. My father knelt
as a priest before the body, knelt with

ceremonial devotion as he ran the knife
from sternum to crotch, creating a benediction

of what fell out. And once he shot a ten-point
and mounted the antlers on his head.

And he jabbed them at my mother, who told me
to always back away from a deer in rut. 

And the winter he died, we glued
his antlers to the basement wall.