I’ve heard the red deer of Eastern Europe
climb with their fawns up rocky hills
to graze on poor patches of grass
rather than go down to green valleys
that once were cut off by barbed wire,
’round national borders and death camps.
They respect, fear, remember
the razor wire no longer there.

I believe in fables:
thou-shalt-nots passed on by deer-talk,
that has the sound of our long wet kisses –
buck to doe to fawn, nose to nose. I hear
commandments sent by antlers scraping trees,
received like the colour of eyes.

Nazi and Stalinist barbed wire words
send me up a hill to graze.
I know my red deer-like progenitors
taught me before I was born to suck,
to be afraid of fire.
When I try to kiss my way into green valleys
I am afraid to move beyond the human,
I am not naked, wrapped in barbed razor wire.
There is an original blessing.

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