A protective and loving doe escorted her twin fawns to the pile of corn to eat
and stood guard with protruded ears on high alert sniffing for danger.
In my childhood, I witnessed the deer my father shot on his annual hunting trip when he dragged a dead doe and a dead fawn through the outdoor cellar doors, down the ashen cement steps to rest in the basement between the glazed coal-burning furnace and my father’s long wooden workbench with a red metal vise attached at the end. Occasionally, a dire unspoken warning was issued when my father jokingly inserted my tiny fingers into the grisly vise and slowly turned the handle until the jaws squeezed my little fingers with tight pressure.
By the heat of the constant hissing flames and the terrifying vise, I grieved for Bambi, my childhood friend, beloved by his young forest friends: Thumper, the rabbit; Flower, the skunk; Faline, the young doe; and a friendly owl. Also, I grieved for my present Bambi: a spotted, vulnerable, innocent fawn weighing less than 30 pounds with a bullet in her heart. Gripped by death up close, I stared at the cold, lifeless, rigid body of the fawn with one haunting, foreboding dark eye staring back at me.
Unlike the protective mother doe, my father was a murderer of the young and innocent. Later in the middle of his nightly visit when he whispered, “I will kill you if you tell anyone,” I was terrified into submission.
An essay by Gerry Sasse