Deer Spitting Snow

by Susan Hankla Issue: Fall 2017 Special Issue on Extinction
There’s the legend about where snow comes from.
It comes from the open mouths of deer,
who have heard about the end of the world.

But the end of the world is not for everyone.
The world is tired and cold when it makes its impression.
The end of the world isn’t for you?

Clothes without people in them
in shop windows—coats hanging limply,
wind whistling through their empty sleeves.

Here’s a croaker sack of rattlesnakes on ice,
hissing for End of the World Day.

And someone’s made us this cunning table with deer legs
and set a tray on it
for the End of the World Buffet.

Deer spit snow at the edge of the roads,
it sticks to the ground in dirty white piles,
then the snow plow comes, shoving snow into mounds.

Birds peck at the tops of these,
getting gravels in their throats,
so they can’t properly herald
the end of the world
with any known song.

Susan Hankla

Susan Hankla lives in Richmond, VA and is a Hollins University graduate, with an MFA from Brown. Burning Deck Press published her chapbook. She appears in Gargoyle, Beloit Fiction Journal, Michigan Quarterly Review, Blue Mesa, Artemis, Hollins Critic, Open Places, Southern Poetry Review, Poetry Northwest, and New Virginia Review. Recipient of a Virginia Commission grant for Fiction, fellowships to Virginia Center for Creative Arts and Frost Place; Clinch River (Groundhog Poetry Press, 2017) is her debut poetry collection.