Road A, towards Dowling Lake, Minnesota

by Dana Alsamsam

I still dream of a broken deer.

I could almost say I was raised
on long unpaved roads with no street lights,
journeys from suburban malaise
to the sharp focus of trees, snow and roads.

The repetitions of this journey
steal the certainty of my memories.

I know I dream of a broken deer.

My mother said she saw straight into its eyes.
She remembers it just like a film: the headlights
were spotlights, a dark, shallow iris somehow reflected
everything she thought fear could be.

We heard the metal crushing under the weight of flesh
then silence.

We were already familiar
with that silence, with the heaviness of everything
that families hold too close to give
even to each other.

I got out of the car with my father
and saw the deer’s hide, a bloody leather sofa.
The animal was still breathing. Labored air.

Tonight, I will dream of a broken deer.

I got back in the car and closed my eyes.

I was asleep before my father began driving again.