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Poem of the week: “Deer Run” by Helen Ruggieri

By Helen Ruggieri At twilight deer drift down to the long field to feed when snow fills the hollows between the long chain of whalebacked hills. Barren hardwoods make a gray haze in the winter light and as the valley floor begins to rise there are hemlock and pine. Deer walk a narrow path to the meadow, stamp glyphs in the snow where they graze, drift away into the early dark. I bring essentials – stove, chair, table, a window facing the field. Days are short and when a tree falls there is no sound: just a delicate clatter against the sharp thrum of the wire. Wings still spread wide, a sign marking the boundary. Contributor’s Note: HELEN RUGGIERI lives in Olean, where she teaches poetry workshops and coordinates the reading series at the Olean Public Library. She earned her MFA in poetry at Penn State, where she studied with John Balaban, and went on to study with the late William Stafford at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. She has published 10 collections of poetry, including “Glimmer Girls” (Mayapple Press, 1999), “Butterflies Under a Japanese Moon” (Kitsune Books, 2011) and “The Kingdom Where Everybody Sings Off Key” (Aldrich Press, 2013), and formerly taught at the University of Pittsburgh (Bradford, Pa., campus) for more than two decades.