on the eve of the Christmas Parade
while citizens were busy attaching his plastic
doppelgängers to Santa Claus floats,
these festive fetishes bobbing in the breeze.
One wrong turn taken and he
disoriented and terrified
mistook shop windows for breaks
in the hard forest of buildings that walled him in.
Cut and bleeding he
anointed doorposts one by one as he
ran the gauntlet of storefronts.
He eluded the police who
streamed in like acolytes
to finish off this sacrament
that would not succumb.
All this seemed to mean something.
Something older and pagan and wild,
a message from the Old Gods to the New.
“We are still here.”
The New Gods answered, “Not for long.”
The town, a living breathing entity,
demanded a blood sacrifice from its folk.
The innocent creature, wide-eyed with fear
wandered into the crosshairs,
the Sunset and the Church.
They finally dispatched him
in the town cemetery as was fitting.
Put down to bleed out amongst the
bones of the founders and their kin
like other blood sacrifices that
have been made here.
Things we don’t talk about
in polite company.
This deer came to a place he could never belong,
ran afoul of the town, small though it may be and
could not escape alive, same as the rest of us.