Open Season

There aren’t too many plants a deer won’t eat,
And species that would kill the fool who dared
        To taste them are a treat
To this perennial worst enemy
Of gardens tended by the unprepared.
        A fence won’t help unless
It’s over six feet high, or deer can see
A second fence just past the first and guess

Correctly that there’s no good place to land.
Another method used by many folks
        Who choose to take a stand
Against marauding deer is spreading flakes
Of fragrant soap, putrescent whites and yolks
        Of eggs, Milorganite,
Or fresh coyote piss—whatever makes
A deer begin to lose its appetite—

Around the beds and on the leaves of plants
They’re eager to protect.  I find it odd
        That marksmen get no chance,
No matter how much damage has occurred,
To do what’s needed to defend their sod
        Until the end of fall.
It comes to this: Let’s thin the goddamn herd
Before there isn’t anywhere at all

A law-abiding citizen can live
An ordered life!  It’s personal, and I
        Won’t ask you to forgive
Me, dearest deer, for spraying garlic oil
(Or bullets, if it comes to that) to try
        To keep you bucks and does
From tramping through my cultivated soil
And eating all the buds off every rose.

C.B. Anderson was the longtime gardener for the PBS television series, The Victory Garden. Over the past eight years, hundreds of his poems have appeared in scores of print and electronic journals out of North America, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia and India. He is inordinately fond of single malt Scotch whisky.