“Old Deer, Old Hunter” by Brian Lawson


An old deer chews his last cud
in the morning as a hunter dresses,
puts on his long-johns, boots, and coveralls
and prepares his body for the cold winter morn
by warming his insides with hot coffee.

An old deer chews his last cud
in the morning as a hunter loads his shotgun,
pops three shells into the chamber
and readies his weapon for death.

An old hunter loads his last gun
in the morning as a deer grazes,
eats farmers' crops, and shuffles its ears
at early birds fluttering in the trees.

An old hunter loads his last gun
in the morning as a deer sleeps,
dozes in the thicket, and dreams of the day
the hunter will leave him be.