Poem: Two weeks in November
Two Weeks in November
I need to teach the deer to read.
To stand behind a row of posted
orange signs. Not that I don’t eat
what’s been penned and killed.
Not that I haven’t learned to shoot
a gun. Or read a report the state sends
saying there’s more than enough
of them to go around. And that they’d
starve when don’t find spring’s leftover
buds, frozen berries to break their teeth on.
Although I don’t need them to tempt
fate, by standing close to a tacked-up.
shot-through, hard-to-read sign. The kind
my neighbor posts to remind a herd
of hunters and a herd. Or one deer
hiding his horns, standing there silently
reading. What I was taught to do if I was
sitting in the woods, waiting for a branch
to break. If I didn’t want to be mistaken.
If I’d forgotten to wear my lighted vest,
Not that I want to be taken
for a pacifist.
Or that I wouldn’t cross
a posted, wire fence, if one of mine was
in distress. If my country, here read now
in Addison County, was under fierce attack.
I didn’t know, at first, this writing would
ask of me. What would it take to have me
raise a gun, to shoulder it, to see the deer
behind its sign.
— Gary Margolis, Cornwall