Still Life


Someone has tied a Get Well Soon balloon to the spotted fawn’s limp wrist, her pummeled body askew in the roadside weeds, head pillowed by an old tire. I’ve pulled over, summoned once again by death’s vivid beacon. The balloon tugs the thin string, brilliant, glittery, pushed to frenzy by the highway wind. Black flies hang like commas from the sills of her blank eyes, but the amber fur is unblemished, as though the fawn is only just asleep. How you would have loved this relentless breed of humor, the balloon dancing, the body unmoving, drivers mashing their horns. My hand reaches for the string, finds its way onto the deer’s twisted neck. Easily, the dead are the wittiest among us, and you among them, lying there that evening, so peaceful, as though only just resting.

Ashley Steineger