Deer, in Landscape

The deer have become more plentiful

in this area. Restrictions against their slaughter

and the sensibilities of children

have had their influence. I understand

that it is they who eat our flowers,

not the raccoons, whom we had blamed previously

One resident of our community

has set up a trough

a kind of a free-lunch counter

in his back yard: an attempt, perhaps,

to preserve his foliage.

But it is like a bird-feeder,

and more and more deer come down now

from the reservation.

They show their cards. They are on Welfare,

it seems, and the utilization of food-stamps

is habituating. Yesterday, we had a brief encounter.

Two beauties were rending the tulips,

nibbling gently at the rhododendrons.

Looking at me accusingly,

it was I who was the trespasser,

someone concerning whom, whistles

would soon be blown, and officers

would arrive, with their pads, to make out the summons.

And I could imagine a landscape

devoid of us humans,

far in the past; or some time in the future.

Demons, deer, birds of paradise,

I’m sorry if I disturbed you.