“Deer Season” by Barbara Tanner Angell

My sister and her friend, Johnny Morley,
used to go on Saturdays to the Bancroft Hotel
to visit his grandfather.

One autumn, the beginning of deer season,
the old man told them,

“Used to hunt when I was a boy,
woods all around here then,
but I never went again after that time…

the men went out, took me with them,
and I shot my first buck.
It was wounded, lying in the leaves,

so they told me,
take the pistol, shoot it in the head.
I went straight up to it,
looked right into its eyes.

Just before I pulled the trigger,
it licked my hand.”

“Deer Season” by Barbara Tanner Angell from The Long Turn Toward the Light: Collected Poems © Cleveland State University Poetry Center.