Butchering the Deer


My father tells me

Be cruel if you want to,

it’s already dead. I am alive

as far as I can tell.

Not just the body, not just

a river of blood, not only 

sweet tension of muscle.

The difference between a carcass

and a body is minute.

Both end in one way or another: the

shoulder of the road coated in red,

a spark lights each ablaze just as simply.

That’s a hometown thing, crudely

rendered. The fat puts its hand in my hand,

but has no pulse. It sings and sings

the music of itself.


Lily Starr
is an eager student of poetry currently living in Miami, Florida. She earned her BA in English from Washington College in 2017 where she was awarded The Jude and Miriam Pfister Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the Sophie Kerr Prize. Her work has appeared in Gulf StreamThe Journal, and South Florida Poetry Journal. She is currently pursuing her MFA at Florida International University.