Written by Addie Barnett
Art by Yao Yao Ma Van As

There is a girl,
deep in the forest.
Her laughter the chirping of birds.

There is a girl,
deep in the forest.
Her smile a string of white pearls.

She pays no heed to the water flying in the air,
A moment too fleeting to notice or fret over.
Her brown doe-eyes close
and her cheeks flush
while her arms
reach for the endless sky.

“Oh, to be alive,” she says,
“On this day of sun and breeze.
It’s the most beautiful gift,
Someone like me could have received.
Am I not right, Theo?”
she asks the baby deer splashing lazily in the water.
Theo nods in silence.

The deer knows days like these come seldom,
Before being overtaken by the crisp winter winds,
And he awaits the day his master
is finally going to set him free.

But the girl pays no attention,
Too caught up in her reverie,
As Theo turns a bit away
To look at the canopy of trees.
“Father, mother?” He calls out,
but no answer ever comes.

The humans took Theo upon one dark night,
and the girl raised it as her pet.
The trees, rustling in the wind,
offer a promise Theo has learned to heed.
“This winter when the humans go to sleep
Run, Theo – and you will be free.”

Days and weeks roll by
And in the dark of night, Theo awaits.
Until the girl and her parents fall fast asleep,
And out into the forest Theo leaps.

“Mother! Father! Here I come,”
the fawn desperately bleats.
“Oh, my child, they are long gone,”
the trees reply with mournful cries.
But Theo is relentless,
it knows its flock is close.
And when the brown coats shine like stars,
It knows it has found home.