Mule Deer Protection Act
Of course, the Utah legislature had to blame
Someone for steeply declining numbers
Of mule deer and other hunted game
Animals — it couldn’t be the hunters
Themselves, or the fossil fuel industry
Building drill pads on the winter range,
Or suburban sprawl in river valleys
Where deer went to drink. Political campaigns
Depend on those people. Wolves, exiled
From the state, had left a vacancy
For a large predator, coyotes filled it
And found themselves hunted for bounty:
Fifty dollars paid for each dead skin.
Run fast, be safe, my wily little ones.
How to Tell a Raven from a Crow
Ravens gather in unkindness
Though they are of the same kind.
Raven solitaire runs with the wolves
Chasing carrion, the crack of gunshots,
Drifting along the edge of the highway
Hoping for something dead.
When you hear a voice in the woods
You have never heard before, it is Raven
Singing barking dog, running water,
Engines and explosions, nevermore,
Gronk-gronk. Ravens’ wings slice the air
With far more flourish than necessary
Surfing updrafts, turning somersaults,
Extending their long thin feather fingers
In that familiar gesture of disdain.
On the other hand, there is no such thing
As just one Crow, perched lowbrow
In the stark lattice of winter branches.
Raucously playing Exquisite Corpse,
Charades, Murder in the Dark, laughing stupidly
At mimes, scarecrows and clowns.
Crows get up too early, Sing too loudly
And off-key, though technically
Songbirds they have a tin ear;
Crows hate Owls and feud with Ravens
Over which feathers to ruffle,
They invented crowbars, hold grudges,
Mourn their dead, never forget a face.
To eat Crow means
You know that you were wrong.
To eat Raven means
You should have been paying more attention
Before you pulled that trigger.
Amy Brunvand is a librarian, writer, and part-time nature mystic from Salt Lake City, Utah. She agrees with Edward Abbey that the environmental movement needs more poets and fewer lawyers (even though some of her best friends are lawyers).
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