“Appearance of the Deer Woman: Diptychs” by alumna Laurie Saurborn Young (poetry, ’08) appears in Tupelo Quarterly:
The afternoon of the day she dies, my grandmother reminds me to check the weather before driving home from the hospital, in case the growing thunderheads decide to unleash a torrential rain.
Some oil, a little water, and those bald tires of yours will get you into trouble, she says, straightening her wig. My mother, feeding her bits of ice from a Styrofoam cup with a small plastic spoon, nods. Think of the baby.
After a two-hour drive on dry roads, I arrive home with the baby intact and asleep. The phone on the kitchen counter rings. It is loud on the other end of the connection, as if my mother is eating the ice she recently fed my grandmother. Though by now, the ice is melted. The crunching sound is tears between receiver and chin.
Holding the baby, who squirms in her rumpled two-piece embroidered with daisies, I walk out into the backyard and stand in the shade of a sweetgum tree. A woman with the face of a deer steps out of the bamboo. I blink, and her face vanishes behind the wind. On the other side of the fence, our neighbors begin throwing empty beer bottles against their garage door.
When she returns home that evening, I run toward my mother, waving two tissues in the humid August air.
Finish reading online at Tupelo Quarterly.