The Deer in December


by Tammy Robacker


for my Father



Since your death, 

my hard heart softens 


in small measures. 

Like the deer stepping


down into my yard, 

he minces his feet


along my frosted garden 

so tentative, 


so carefully now. 

As if you are sorry.


Dear brown-eyed, 

remorseful creature 


still coming around 

for a daughter’s vestiges. 


My forgiveness 

parcels itself out 


in pinchfuls of seeds. 

I let you feed


on my pale winter 

kale and weeds.