Hermaphroditic Deer With Seven Legs “Tasty”

by Lowell Jaeger

That’s the headline. I’m microwaving a potpie.
One room rent-a-cabin. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Also an article about wolves, how they’ll kill
darn near anything. And hockey scores
for packs of grinning broken-toothed
high schoolers. The Wolverines. Badgers,
Hawks, Bears, Cats. An entire league
of carnivores. My potpie spits

and sizzles. I punch holes in the crust
and let the juices steam. Read the feature
about the weird deer. Both male and female
reproductive organs. Extra legs like crab
claws. Supposed to be turkey in my pie,
but it’s rubbery like squid. I chew my way
through the rest of the story: local hunter
gunning his pickup down a quarter mile
drive toward home, brakes for what looks

to be a nub-antler buck, limping. Truck slides
and knocks him down. Thump-thump.
I’ve got gristle stuck in a bad filling. Dig
the pie carton out of the trash. Says
reconstituted turkey . . . and other meats.
Game Warden said, “Kinda gives you the creeps
when you look at it.” Vagina and balls.
Sure enough. Bogus legs curled up tight
beside the real ones. No sense in wasting
a good meal. I finish the pie. The hunter’s
awarded the carcass. Hauls it home.
And eats it. Said it was “tasty.”

As founding editor of Many Voices Press, Lowell Jaeger compiled Poems Across the Big Sky, an anthology of Montana poets, and New Poets of the American West, an anthology of poets from 11 Western states. His third collection of poems, Suddenly Out of a Long Sleep (Arctos Press) was published in 2009 and was a finalist for the Paterson Award. His fourth collection, WE, (Main Street Rag Press) was published in 2010. He is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Montana Arts Council and winner of the Grolier Poetry Peace Prize. Most recently Jaeger was awarded the Montana Governor’s Humanities Award for his work in promoting thoughtful civic discourse.


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