Nancy: It only took one woman, dead in her own backyard because her white mittens triggered carelessness, to make trips to the well or the woodpile feel less casual, more tense.
Not the maple, not the sumac,
not the old gold faded hackmatack,
no, orange men, at the field edge, the roadside,
drifting between the trees,
garishly, fluorescently, aggressively orange.
Taking the dog for a walk,
I put on my coat, my hat, reach for the orange –
flimsy plastic vest – think “no”,
think of the woman in the white mittens,
The dog, so small, couldn’t look like a deer?
Couldn’t, but I take an orange bandana
and fasten it around his neck.
He doesn’t care, he goes out, happy,
white flag of a tail flying.
Not a deer, I think, not a deer,
again, over and over, not a deer.
Alan: The four-legged hunters are out there, watching the deer, watching the two-legged hunters too.
All night, the coyotes howl, shredding our sleep.
The dog barks back, ten pounds of courage
behind an eighth inch of glass.
We rise to hard white frost
and talk of strangers at the head of the driveway,
itchy for deer.
I walk out
to truck tracks, the slots of a doe and lamb,
to scat with fur and bone in it,
the dog silent at the end of his lead, dancing