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

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