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
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.