THE DEER PROBLEM
A gray-white streak across the forest trail,
chased by a burst of dogs.
Uneven mouth-holes in the soil by the white lace fence.
Bad taste didn’t save the daffodils.
All year round I slept with my window locked,
afraid the yipping thing would steal me.
The deer were moving in too close, my parents said,
nibbling the gardens we cut out of the woods.
Because our town was small, we had bears delivered
from city yards where they’d torn through the garbage.
They had no natural predators, there were too many
tawny heads leaning over back fences, munching flowers.
A bear pawed through pots, upstairs we thought
the noise was my father, coming home to eat without talking.
They were lazy too, preferring trash to venison,
teaching their bumbling cubs to drop melon rinds in the driveway.