Hormonally imbalanced females of all deer species
have been known to grow antlers.
This is what I choose. Periosteum rampant on my brow
and testosterone to activate it at the pedicle.
“Luxury organs,” so called because they aren’t
necessary for survival.
I choose the possibility buried in the furrow
which has ceased to disappear between my eyes
in sleep, in skin my lover has touched her lips to.
Females produce young each year. Males produce antlers.
Forget the in-vitro, expensive catheter of sperm
slipped past the cervix, the long implications
of progeny. I am more suited to other sciences, other growth.
Researchers have snipped bits of periosteum
from pedicles, grafted them onto other parts
of a buck’s body, and grown antlers.
I’ll graft it to my clavicle. My cheekbone.
Ankle. Coccyx. Breast. At last visible,
the antler will grow. Fork and tine. Push and splay.
Researchers have tricked deer into growing and casting
as many as four sets of antlers in one calendar year.
It won’t wait for what’s appropriate, but starts
in the subway, in the john, talking to a friend about her sorrows,
interviewing for a job. My smooth desk, my notebook,
my special pen with particular ink, my Bach playing
through the wall of another room—not the location
of the prepared field, but what the light says, when
the light says now.
Deer literally rob their body skeletons to grow
antlers they’ll abandon a few months later.
It could care less about the inconvenience forking
from my knee, the difficulty of dressing, embracing, or
piloting a car. It doesn’t care
Essentially bucks and bulls are slaves to their antlers.
if I’m supposed to be paying bills or taking the dog
for her evening walk. There is no sense to it, no logic, just thrust.
It does its work. It does its splendid, difficult, ridiculous work and then,
making room for its next, more varied rising,
gorgeous and done, it falls away.
Most of the poems in Interpretive Work were published before content was widely available online.
I wanted to make some of them more accessible here.