Roadside Remnants

Completely true poem of things found, in order, by the roadside.

Something terrible happened here.



I had to take my husband to work today. I needed the car to keep a doctor’s appointment. On my way from dropping him off, I saw a deer in the middle of the road.

For anyone from the Midwest, seeing a deer is a fairly common occurrence. Even in the middle of the road. Especially in the middle of the road.

When I was still barely a teenager, I was working at Wal-mart. After an evening shift, I made my way home on a dark winter night. No light in the sky, very cold. Two deer exploded from the left side. One ran in front of my car, and then! One ran immediately behind my car! Had I been going any faster or slower, I would have hit one of them. Crazy! The most bizarre thing. It was like a dream. Everything happening all at once, senses slow down to process what’s happening, tapping the brakes, looking forward, glancing in the rearview when you see the slight movement of another animal. Gah!

This deer was laying down though. Rural, Raytown Road,  just off 150 Highway, around Longview Lake, very woodsy, for anyone who knows that area. I immediately knew something was wrong because deer don’t lay down in the road. Even Missouri deer as brazen as they can be. Now, geese on the other hand…

I watched the deer for a moment; other cars were stopped. A man got out of his truck and approached the animal. The deer tried to run, but then it was apparent, its legs were broken. My heart sank to the floormats.

The deer will surely die, it was laying in the road, legs broken, can’t even get safely to the side. Still awake. Possibly stunned, but struggling. So sad. No blood.

I called 911 because I didn’t know who to call. She said she would call someone. So, it wasn’t totally ridiculous to call 911 for a deer. She didn’t say, “Excuse me? Here’s the number for animal control.” I made it clear, the deer was still alive.

As I was calling 911, I watched the man bend down and stroke the deer’s neck. A tender pet to a dying creature. It was so sweet. And sad. Back to his truck and then a few moments later, he picked the deer up by the breast and around the waist and tried to lift the deer as much as one man could. He dragged her (no points) to safety at the side of the road. He knelt down in the long grass and waited with the deer. Waiting for something. For help, for a gun, for the deer to die. But he waited while a dozen other cars passed. Had I not been wearing flip-flops and no coat, I would have waited too. I didn’t expect everyone to stop, but I wanted everyone to stop. It seemed right to stop and have concern for this deer. But work. Schedules. It’s a deer. I get it. But a jerkwad honked at everyone who was stopped and trying to help. I evil-eyed that motherhumper. Go around!

I rolled my window down, “I called 911.”

The Deer Whisperer shook his head. “Yeah, but the deer’s dead. Or will be. Not much to do.”

“But the deer is still alive?” I asked.

“Yeah, but not for long.”

I nodded. “Okay.” And then I drove away. I didn’t want to. I didn’t know what else to say. Thank you? It didn’t seem appropriate when an animal was dying. But I did want to thank him. He was kind and went out his way. Not for me, but for a dying deer. I really like humans like that.

Yes, I cried for the deer. A few tears on the way home. I can’t help feeling emotional over animals. I know most of the people I grew up with would perhaps tease me. I’m very sensitive. Even growing up in the rural area of Grain Valley, I never got used to seeing animals die. Bad day. Worse day for the deer.

Reminds me of my Bradbury-esque story that I wrote several months ago. I’ve posted that story today and linked above. It was a Bradbury contest, write a story in the style of Ray Bradbury, 451 (Fahrenheit 451) words or less. Mine was exactly 451. Also reminds me of my first blog.