Issue 137, Winter 1995
The first deer went through the ice when I was out in the barn working. It was January. Martha came running out of the cabin to tell me. She saw it all.
I grabbed a rope and went running down to the lake. The deer, a doe, had gone out onto the new ice, all the way to the middle, and had crashed through. It was twenty below and supposed to get colder. The deer had punched a car-sized hole in the center and was swimming in circles, Hailing and trying to pull herself up onto the ice with her black shiny hooves. She would work her front legs up and prop herself up on the ice that way, like a woman resting her elbows at a table, and then she would kick and thrash, trying to pull herself back up, but would crash through new ice and slide back into the water. Then she would resume swimming in circles, panicked.
I hurried out onto the ice. The ice cracked under my feet; I slowed down. I knew my wife was watching from the window and I could feel her thinking, stupid, stupid, as I went out acr…