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Radio Readers BookByte: Two Deer


Deer fascinate me, and sighting them is always magical, maybe because they move so effortlessly, compared to us.

Here are two deer poems, “Levitation” and “White Deer Chirascuro.”

Chirascuro is an Italian term for high contrast paintings, where black background emphasizes the light.


The psychic says ghosts float

above ground. When deer waver

in sunrise fog over asphalt,

I believe. Front-on, only ears show

but sideways, slanting northward,

full bodies appear—soft-tan fur,

solid torsos, brown cherub eyes.

They move obliquely in pale light.


They could fall to curbs but veer

to cedars. Hooves never touch

as I plod behind them, earthen,

lost in gravity and night glum when

silver shimmers in pink roses

glitter mist fills air and they rise.


White Deer Chiaroscuro

That pocket of night between

midnight and dawn, witching hour,

early for crepuscular deer


yet two bask in moonlight,

profiled, rough-furred,

almost tangible beyond glass.


They float closer to each other,

symmetrical garden statues

halting time in this eerie tale,


black nose to black nose,

large-eared blocky does,

backlit in a landscape shot.


Unmoving, they turn smaller,

reposition downhill, camouflage

with others in junipers. Look,


Father’s death mask glows,

in shadows, but no,

it’s a white deer, another,


albinos separating from night,

specters in a tableau as real

as the dead walking among us.

Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-09, is author of over twenty-five books of poetry and prose. Forward Reviews writes of her new memoir The Turtle’s Beating Heart: One Family’s Story of Lenape Survival: “An accomplished poet, Low’s well-honed prose flows with lyric intensity.” She teaches professional workshops and classes for Baker University’s School of Professional and Graduate Studies. She has won three Kansas Notable Book Awards and has recognition from Seaton Prize, Pami Jurassi Bush Award of the Academy of American Poets, Roberts Prize, and the Lichtor Poetry Prize. Low has an MFA (Wichita State U.) and Ph.D. (Kansas U.).


Two Deer -- Ah yes, cooking Bambi

Once my sister-in-law sauteed fresh deer loin in butter until browned on both sides but rare in the middle. With a little salt and pepper, this is the gourmet venison experience. For stew meat, what we usually have, I like to use a crock pot, add 4 whole turnips, 6 carrots, 2 peeled onions (cut in half), 1 can beef stock, and a pound of stew meat scraps. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Low and slow makes it all tender. Salt and pepper to taste. 

4 whole turnips

6 carrots

2 peeled onions (cut in half)

1 can beef stock

1 pound of stew meat scraps

Add to a slow roaster, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook on low setting for 5-6 hours, until tender.

It's Food Friday and Radio Reader Denise Low has provided a family recipe for venison stew.