The Deer

My gift is eating snakes. I charm them with my breath and use their venom as expectorant. My gift is in my nose, a dowsing rod for dittany, which lets me shift my skin and shake it till the hunter’s arrows are shook off. My gift is being audience to anyone who plays a pipe in my section of the woods. I freeze and listen, fringed in light. My gift is patience—even raging with a 10-point lust, I don’t conceive until Arcturus decorates the evening sky. My gift is leaving my perfume to dangle on the tissue of the wind and dropping it too late for hounds to make their use of it. My gift is invisibility, which I relinquish when I bear a fawn or when my antlers breach. My gift is the sight of me, which brings down children’s fevers and cures sick trees.