Two Poems by Victoria Joyce

Sundown on Her Thighs

Pixilated shadows skitter and dissemble
beneath the balcony. A young woman stands
in a doorway, sundown breeze scalloping her
paisley jumper's hem into soft curls.
She is woolgathering and I wonder
whether she senses the low silken undertones
of Spring's faint pulse on the fine china of her thighs.
Dusk crests as I watch the wind suggest itself
beneath her patterned skirt.
Both she and the evensong realize the reluctant passage pleating in upon itself before exhaling reluctantly, lifting
just a hint of maiden cotton. Then with a chilled shiver,
pensive twilight strokes the buttery skin
behind her knees. Dusk is a fragile plaything
bashfully stepping forward, rousing, tempting.
It conjures her with a purr
as she stands captured, a snapshot.
Tomorrow she'll be older.


Deer Surplus

Out on a walk at dusk I saw the goofiest thing imaginable.
There was this field. In it stood scores of cows abreast.
And at the edge of the meadow there was a ton of deer,
simply gobs of them. I'd have needed an abacus to calculate
the actual number. There were brown ones, white, and some
spotted as well. The baby ones could scarcely stand up
on their brand new shivery little legs.
But the point is that they were standing side by side facing
the line of cows. It looked for all the world like they were
getting ready to play dodge ball or something.
As I live and breath, I swear it's true.
Those deer were just so un-Bambi-like as they stood
there like a line of Chicago riot cops.
The cows silently faced them off causing
the most ridiculous bovine impasse I've ever witnessed.
Whatever, I thought as I rounded the bend.

I met up with a companion there and we hiked up into the hills.
Coming down again she stopped suddenly.
In a hushed tone she pointed out three deer
on the hillside gazing down at us.

That's nothing, I told her,
I just saw a whole boatload of them
down in the pasture.
They were challenging the cows.

A few days later she called to tell me
she could have sworn that a few
of the deer barked at her as she left
that evening.


Victoria Joyce