Patricia Davis-Muffett, “What it’s like to live here”

Patricia Davis-Muffett (she/her) holds an MFA from the University of Minnesota. Her work has won numerous honors including honorable mention in the 2021 Muriel Craft Bailey Memorial Award, and second place (2022) and first honorable mention (2021) in the Outermost poetry contest, selected by Marge Piercy. Her work has appeared in Atlanta Review, Pretty Owl Poetry, Quartet Journal, and Comstock Review, among others. She lives in Rockville, Maryland, and makes her living in technology marketing.

orange line

What it’s like to live here

All skinny legs and silence,
I am bone cold in the winter night,
sheltering under a thin band
of pines and cedars.

When we are sure of the quiet,
we hide our eyes from
garage floodlights, driveway
motion detectors. I teach
my children to stay curled
in underbrush, wait for the dogs
to come and go. The fox
steers clear. We are too much
for the hawk. We outlast coyote
and bear, here at the edge
of the subdivision.

If I had my choice, it would be
miles of woods, green leaves bursting,
a creek running full and lush over rocks.

For the sake of survival,
I will take this bit of forest,
the landscape arbor vitae,
the dogs who chase just
to the property line, brown grass
for my fawns, a fenceline away
from the rush of traffic–
and a promise of spring plantings
stolen in the light of day.

2 thoughts on “Patricia Davis-Muffett, “What it’s like to live here”

  1. This is a beautifully quiet poem. The mother deer’s matter-of-fact voice about keeping herself and her young alive outlines the many dangers they encounter. I especially like the imagery and sounds of the first stanza “skinny legs and silence” and “bone cold in the winter night.”


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