Carotenosis (1)

I have found bullet shells where the
fence meets forest, and for that, I am
not allowed in the woods that I love
come November—not without Daddy’s
hand and his hunting vest. He drapes
the vibrant, orange fabric over my pink
coat after I beg him to take me feeding,
and I feel ugly, but safe—safe from the
pellets plunging for hearts through the
branches because, like the bleating does,
I am now off limits. I am the size and
color of the bag of carrots Daddy carries
over his shoulder as we follow antler
scuffed trees into the familiar depths of
the thicket, knowing this is the path of
bucks. And on a grassy clearing past a
dried up stream, where I drink by handfuls
in the summer, we spread the bait before
disappearing into the cloak of trees,
masking our scent with pine. We wait
and watch, both knowing the carrots
will lure the deer in, but I am waiting
for the peaceful wood’s return—for the
carotene to turn the whitetails orange,
and Daddy must turn his gun away.
(1) A yellow-orange discoloration of the skin caused by an excessive intake of carotene, the orange pigmentation found in vegetables such as sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, and carrots.

Published in Fishladder, 2012

Through the 3rd Eye was supported in its inception by the Grand Rapids Humanities Council and is currently made possible by continued volunteer effort and private support. Copyright 2013.