being bambi.

& so you say, it’s a possibility i can’t rule out.

two hours later, after you have wasted yourself tearfully into that chasm between waking & sleep, where you know you are awake but, upon waking, know you’ve been asleep, a rip in your consciousness finds you at a video rental store a few miles from the house where you grew up.   the sign above its door is sea green, the font retro & thick, the silhouette of a palm tree backlit by a bright orange sun.  you are four or five years old.  he is holding your hand.

& you begin to wonder if this is why you still bawl, until you are a blubbering bucket of salt & snot, at the scenes, almost identical, in which bambi and little foot call for their mothers, their voices cavernous, aching.  why the thought of watching watership down, the secret of NIMH, the neverending story, the dark crystal, & labyrinth shrink your stomach to the size of a pea & loosen the threads anchoring your lungs inside your chest.  why these movies make you feel a sickness & a dread so deep that you can’t face most of them.

*

more & more, you find yourself stumbling, the soft flesh of your hooves sinking in slush & snow, calling out, mother, mother, but the words from your mouth sound more like, please, anyone.  & despite the buck-toothed rabbits & skunks with curling tails who find you there, in the heart of the forest, you remain alone, so still beneath the branches, while the great prince of the forest watches, always watching, from the crest of a tall rock, his antlers proud & reaching, his affect stoic.  watching, not waiting, no breath bated, no anticipation, because he knows–has always known–& never uttered a word.