The poem "Traveling Through the Dark" by William Stafford tells of a man driving along a winding road above a canyon in a wilderness area. He comes across the body of a deer that has been struck and killed by another driver. Because the road is narrow, he realizes that it is best to push the carcass off the road into the canyon so that it will not be a danger to other passing motorists.
He stops his car just ahead of the dead deer, walks back, and discovers that it is a doe, a female deer, and that it has a large belly, which means that it is pregnant. The doe's side is still warm, which means that the fawn, the baby deer, may still be alive.
The driver who has made the effort to stop stands in the lights of his parked car, listening to the sound of the engine, and sensing the wilderness all around. He considers the situation for a time and then pushes the doe off the edge into the canyon.
The event that is being dramatized is the entire scene of the driver noticing the carcass on the road, stopping, finding out that the dead doe is pregnant, thinking about what he is about to do, and then pushing her over.
The conflict that is being presented in the poem has to do with the driver discovering that the doe is pregnant and that the fawn might still be alive. He hesitates because he would like to somehow do something to save the fawn. If the doe would not have been pregnant, he would have immediately pushed her over. However, Stafford writes: "I thought hard for us all—my only swerving." By "all," the driver is referring to the doe, the fawn, and himself. By "swerving," he is not talking about swerving while driving but rather allowing his thoughts to swerve to the possibility of saving the fawn. However, he realizes that there is nothing else he can do, so he pushes the doe into the canyon to decrease the danger to other passing motorists.