Dad’s Dead Deer

A dead doe
Twists in the wind.
Hooves pointed out.
It hangs by a neck rope
From the swing set crossbar.
The boys touch the animal.
A dog tied nearby howls.
The beer party inside the house begins.
Night falls, and
The cold, cruel November wind blows
While the men go to another part of the village
To the taverns.
The dog howls.
The boys sit together
In the backyard and watch
The deer twist in the hunter's moon.
Beer and whiskey
Cut furrows in tired minds
And talk is planted.
The boys approach the deer
With knives.
Sally Sweetthing
Comes into the tavern
And sits next to the father (a recent widower)
Of the boys who are now
Cutting the deer's
Hide and flesh
Again and again.
And they stain their hands
In the blood.
And they try to catch it all in a plastic garbage sack.
Guts, innards, and undigested food
Fall from the deer that the old man
Had road hunted and put off cleaning.
The boys hate their father.
They will fill his bed with deer guts
Because they will run away tonight
And don't much care what happens next.
And the old man carried Sally to the bed,
While the dog howled.

—John Sime, Readstown, WI