From the kitchen window I watch my father
fence in chickenwire two young trees, one apple,
one plum. Deer that visit each dusk
have cropped the tender growth of these,
Mom’s roses, too. The neighbor, visiting,
says he’ll shoot them. Mom says, I hope not.
What is it that holds them now, mother
and father, her husband, his wife?
He, retired after fifty years of taking trees
out of forests; she, whose sons
no longer hunt the deer she ground
for venison-burger, sliced into steaks.
Who will harvest apples and plums
from these trees when they have grown beyond
the reach of deer? Who will look up
from apple-butter making and love the sight
of deer as much as that of roses?