The Deer Path

As I walked on the deer path, I reviewed, as is my long-standing habit, my prospects. If
I expect more, I wondered, will I get it? One deer sped by in a small, trucklike vehicle
and shouted FUCK! at me through the open window in an unmistakably cruel way. But
deer are gentle creatures, I thought, vegan all their short, placid lives.

The cruel deer had disrupted my reverie, but I wouldn’t let it put an end to my walk.
On I went, past the deer gardens and the deer mansions. Such luxury also seemed out
of keeping with what I knew of that modest animal, the deer.

On the lawns, fawns kicked and ran. I heard one buck fawn call his friend a FAG, in an
unmistakably cruel way. I’d read that certain deer have evolved genetically to live out-
side the herd, on the periphery, alert to approaching danger. The benefit to the com-
munity seemed obvious.

I continued down to the deer lake, a valuable expanse of azure. The breeze blew, cool-
ing the healthy, active deer bodies. Was the water warm, was the lake deep? I didn’t so
much as dip my toe in. Like the flash of a hoof, in the middle of my life, I knew that I’d
been asking exactly the wrong question.


Megan Milks is the author of Margaret and the Mystery of the Missing Body (Feminist Press, 2021), a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in transgender fiction, as well as Slug and Other Stories and Remember the Internet: Tori Amos Bootleg Webring.

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