Joelee Dekker

If not to split this armor through
and through, if not to fletch
this quiver of arrows
with tendons and capillaries,
stake claim on ratchet knees
and sweeps of bone—
then to roam this November
forest with the heft of them,
bristle through the quiet hours
having knitted these skeins
entrelac, having gathered the cold          
away from the body. Out here
we dress our forgettings
in rawhide, let the moths
riddle this heap to ash
because there is no deer rifling
and rifling away. No red stag
or white tail. Only a wash
of half-moon hoof trails
embroidered in snow.





Between the coveted months of October and December, Michigan hunters enter these woods in hopes of bagging a trophy deer. But I imagine hunters who are after more than just deer, hunters who both track and outrun themselves. Treating a forest with the same care of an empty room, a container meant to hold their grief. Or hide it.