by Elizabeth Tornes
For my father, Jim Tornes
I remember the story you told us
about the deer that wandered onto the property
wearing an orange ribbon around her neck,
as if someone meant to say, don’t shoot!
You went in the cottage, grabbed a carrot—
she sidled up to you, nibbled it down.
In your time, you’d shot plenty of her kind.
But she became your pet, appearing In the evenings
near the house, where you’d drop old apples
and dried-up carrots. After several days,
you were able to stroke her neck. One day
you festooned her with orange survey ribbons
crisscrossed around her belly, her legs,
and tied a double bow beneath her chin.
Amazing how still
she stood while you wrapped her
like a peace offering
for all the world to see.
"Deer Story" was noted as Honorable Mention for our 2017 Up North Poetry Prize.
Elizabeth Tornes has published three chapbooks, Between the Dog and the Wolf, winner of the Five Oaks Press Winter Chapbook Prize (2016), New Moon (2013, Finishing Line Press, New Women’s Voices winner), and Snowbound (Giiwedin Press, 2011, Wisconsin Fellowship of Poetry Chapbook Contest First Prize winner). Her poems have been appeared widely in journals and anthologies, recently in Ariel Anthology 2016, Blue Heron Review, bornmagazine.com, Bramble, In the Absence of Something Specified Anthology, Illuminations, Main Street Rag, The North American Review, Up North Lit and Yellow Medicine Review. She has won many awards and prizes, including the Academy of American Poets Prize and residencies at Yaddo and MacDowell. She holds a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the University of Utah. She has also published a collection of Ojibwe oral histories, Memories of Lac du Flambeau Elders (University of Wisconsin Press, 2004) and lives in Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin.