“Open Season” by Kate Peterson

Kate Peterson


There’s a hum at the window,
rain or wind through the yellow death
of autumn. Somewhere a doe is lifting her soft face
in a clearing, chewing the red skin of an apple
so delicately she can hear the man who lured her there
as he lowers his sight through the trees,

and you are waking with no idea where you are.
You tell me there is nowhere left to go in this world
where someone isn’t looking at you
from behind a barrel. We’ve been up for days,
watching, listening to the hum, as if life goes on.
The skin under our eyes is murky
like the creek bed where our mother taught us to sing.

Being good is not enough, she’d say. You’ve also got to be loud
sometimes. When men were hiding in the trees
who could mistake us for the innocent creatures
they were killing as our sandals were sucked off in the mud.

They will keep climbing into towers, to wound us
for the thrill of it. As we flash our bright tails
in surrender, they will fire from above.

Poets Respond
December 4, 2016

[download audio]


Kate Peterson: “This poem is written, as I am sure many have been, in response to the election. This is mainly dealing with the fears many women and the LGBTQ community have about living in Trump’s America.” (website)

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