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Roe StagPascale Petit

Pascale Petit
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Tell me there is a meadow, afterwards,

that the roe stag will come

to the top of my garden,


that the window will cut me

with glass blades

of dewy hooves.


That I’ll lay out my doe mask,

my necklace of icicles,

onto the deep windowsill.


Tell me the stag will be there

among nettles and briar, his mouth

panting, his lungs clear.


That his legs won’t tangle

in the electric wire

around my tower.


That if he can’t find his way

back into the before,

his horns jewelled


with thorns and flowers

might grow into a tall grove.

Tell me that even in my solitude,


my altar goods laid out

to the god of woods,

that this red deer


against the steep viridian field

will sprout a ladder between his tines

that I can climb.


That his antlers will be strong

as my spine, that I will scale

the rungs of myself


out onto the clouded

chancel of the sky, my body

slick as a newborn fawn.


This poem begins with a line by Lucie Brock-Broido and was first published in New Humanist.


Pascale Petit was born in Paris, grew up in France and Wales and now lives in Cornwall. She is of French, Welsh and Indian heritage. Her eighth collection, Tiger Girl, from Bloodaxe in 2020, was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection, and for Wales Book of the Year. A poem from the book won the Keats-Shelley Poetry Prize. Her seventh poetry collection Mama Amazonicapublished by Bloodaxe in 2017, won the inaugural Laurel Prize in 2020, won the RSL Ondaatje Prize in 2018, was shortlisted for the Roehampton Poetry Prize, and was a Poetry Book Society Choice.