We know about urine, how our scent deflects
bucks and does, and so we know to crouch, to let
the hay-streams loose within sight of deer-stand scopes.
We know to do this early, like spies who protest,
before the shooting begins.
We remember to scarf Sonny, to twist
his Labrador hair with saffron bows.
We know to always, always walk him leashed,
to wear construction vests, pumpkin-colored gloves,
hats dyed tangerine, and to whistle while we walk.
We’ve seen the roadways covered with men
driving from Chicago, from Milwaukee,
even Topeka. We know about dollar deals
on Pabst Blue Ribbon, about Free Salt-Blocks!
with every Kessler-by-the-case purchase.
We know about titty bars, the peroxided strippers
prepared for the hunters’ hajj, and shooter shows
under the pines. We know it’s tradition.
We know they say it is.
We know school will be sparse this week. Students
with parents like ours, like us, the only kids there.
We know we’ll play twister, touch bodies, flirt
with the Reddy boys, who play hockey and are Hindu.
We know there’ll be extra cheese in the cafeteria.
We know about flat-bed trucks, the nearly-fawns
with acorn prongs and their bellies sliced open.
We know to avert our eyes as we make our way
through the parking lot into the grocery store.
Michelle Menting lives in Lincoln, Nebraska. Her work has appeared in Bellingham Review, Ascent, Ampersand Review and other journals.