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Deer Hunt


Because the warden is my cousin, my

mountain friends hunt in summer, when the deer

cherish each rattler-ridden spring, and I

have waited hours by a pool in fear

that manhood would require I shoot, or that

the steady drip of the hill would dull my ear

to a snake whispering near the log I sat

upon, and listened to the yelping cheer

of dogs and men resounding ridge to ridge.


I flinched at every lonely rifle crack,

my knuckles whitening where I gripped the edge

of age and clung, like retching, sinking back

then gripping once again the monstrous gun,

since I, to be a man, had taken one.


Judson Jerome



From The Village: New and Selected Poems,
Dolphin-Moon Press, (c) 1987.  This poem is in the
public domain.

Background by
Arcs Imposed

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