November Poetry: "Field Elegy" by Leah Silvieus

Curated as part of the Adoptee Poetry Folio by Guest Editor Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello
November 9, 2017

This November, to recognize and honor National Adoption Awareness Month, I've invited adoptee poet Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello to curate a folio of poems by 10 Asian American adoptees. This page features "Field Elegy" by Leah Silvieus. I invite you to take a moment to read her moving introduction to the folio here, as well as the other nine poems in this collection.

— Eugenia Leigh, Poetry Editor

Field Elegy

We carry the fawn down to the woods, 
the body still light and lifelike, as if

it still carries some of the spirit, this animal
which only hours before had been crying

for its mother, abandoned in an open field.
I sit with the fawn as my husband digs and digs,

striking roots and rocks until he finds a soft place
where the soil has some give. I can’t stop

touching the small pink wound in its spotted side
— or the belly, still soft beneath a ribcage

a smidge bigger than my fist. I fold the slender legs
neatly as if bedding it down and lower the body

into the hole. Lower, I say, though the hole
is only shin-deep, just enough to keep the dogs

from dragging the corpse back to the house.
I flinch as the body topples over, its hooves tangling

in oak roots; even though I know the suffering is over,
I want to shut its round black eye, now dulling

as it stares up through the soil — I want to make it
look as if it were sleeping and not dead

— as if such a thing were a mercy 
to this fawn and not to me, now alone

in this field and bleating.


This piece was published as part of the November Adoptee Literature Folio. To see other works from the folio, please visit the table of contents here.


Leah Silvieus

Born in South Korea and raised in Montana and Colorado, Leah Silvieus now travels between Florida and New York as a yacht chief stewardess. She is the author of Anemochory (Hyacinth Girl Press 2016) and has a second chapbook forthcoming from Bull City Press in 2018. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Miami and is a books editor for Hyphen magazine. Visit her at