Addy Mahaffey

The Deer-Headed Daughter

Here’s to Dad’s warped records, turning
to tar in the August heat of the garage.

Beneath the green lake, they are plucking
you raw. Stroking the strings of soft hair,

fine as volcanic ash, fine as the fuzz on
a baby bird. The head of a child is a

tender thing, echoing with the acoustic
murmuring of bumblebees. Here’s

to the long-gone canary soul that once
sat inside your skull, now yellowed as the

preacher’s teeth. By now you are all-bone,
and they have taken your hair for bait.

Here’s to eleven years of driving down
a gravel road towards home where you,

the deer-headed daughter, spring
in front of every headlight you see.

2096

this is a holographic postcard
          from my future place of rest

buried underneath a sycamore in
          the northwest corner of a

park where it’s always just
          between spring and summer

and everything is warm and
          lush with life, green and

ever-verdant, clover ellipsing
          the sprawled roots.

and there’s a plaque,
          eco-tacked to the bark

telling you i made this
          tree with my body, that

the dust of my ribs grew
          the branches like limbs

and the goldfinch you see
          is sitting on my spine.

i was placed here gently
          on a wednesday morning

by my children and their children
          and their children’s children

without so much as a swan song
          but rather a full and trusting until.

Author Portrait

Addy Mahaffey studies English and philosophy at the University of Arkansas. She is the 2017 recipient of the Felix Christopher McKean Memorial Award for Poetry. After completing her undergraduate degree, she hopes to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing.