Wednesday, November 30, 2016

At Dusk

The places we call home. . . this is one of them, the one in Idaho.
Winter is coming on.

A new The New Yorker has the requisite two poems, 
a complex pantoum on a bad relationship, 
and this one, which I prefer.


She collected men the way a light left on collected
bugs. It was an old story---money, gravity, the right amount of cleavage. And yet the most successful root never stops fleeing the seed where it began. The cars of two drunks decide to kiss, the lit match gives in to the windy field. Here's a lesson: when people heard there was an albino deer in the woods behind our house, they set out the apples and corn. That was twenty years ago. The shotgun pellets stuck in our tree continue their slow ascent.        
                                  Charles Rafferty

The New Yorker, October 31, 2016, page 55.

Of course I love the part about the root fleeing the seed. But the shotgun pellets ascending is spectacular, too. There is a man who lives near the North Woods who takes many pictures of various albino deer near where he lives. He shows them on Facebook and makes an annual calendar of their portraits, but I don't think he tells people exactly where they live. He has given the deer names; one matriarch is known as Blue Eyes.

Your assignment tonight: write a 10 to 12 line prose poem that tells a story and has some philosophy in it, too.  jhh


  1. Why does everyone assume white deer are albinos? Old Man Ottinger had a herd of fallow deer, they were leucistic, white against the moonlight. But the National Park Service came and killed them all. That was long after the murder. I was there the night the ranger was slain. I was camping illegally. I saw the poachers enter, heard the shots out near Limantour. Saw them leave. I was so afraid, I curled into the arms of the old pine. Fear was drumming a naked tattoo in my heart. A staccato of hooves on pavement. Blue Eyes is indeed beautiful. If she was albino, her eyes would be red. Maybe not so pretty then. Other images might come to mind. Then she could see between worlds when the poachers come.

    Lovely watercolor and exercise.

  2. Maureen makes a very good point! Do a web search on deer, using the words, white, albino, leucistic and so forth. There is a lot of interesting information about several different kinds of deer in different places. Some of this information would fold neatly into one of your poems.