Rebecca Dougherty

The deer died of depression,
penned in the pasture under the oak.

Not the first casualties. The Winton
people also perished, battling

malaria, miners, General Vallejo’s
army and small pox. Then came the settlers,

the farmers, the farms. A Southern
mansion built on tribal ground.

Now this place belongs to the county,
the mansion a museum stuffed with

relics, tended to by the historical society
and well-to-do. In the attic, a fine

wedding dress. Hand beaded. Quietly
moldering—a discovery that sparked

an uproar. Petitions on Facebook. Words
thrown like knives. Who should be

in charge of the ghosts? The oak remains.
Dropping limbs greater than a man.

Rebecca Dougherty was born, raised, and lives in the Central Valley of California. She has been involved in agriculture her entire life, starting as a seasonal field worker in her teens. She has graduate degrees in education and technology. Currently, she writes poetry with several workshop groups in the San Francisco Bay area.


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