Bear hunting season has already begun in Maine, with deer hunting to follow, and this week’s poem is a kind of ode to the color that anyone walking in the woods is wise to wear. Its final lines render the woods and the speaker, and the fireworks happening all around them.

Michelle Menting lives in Maine, and her collection “Leaves Surface Like Skin” was published by Terrapin Books in 2017.

Hunter Orange

By Michelle Menting

A fabric so bright, hops-soaked riflemen

can smell citrus through their eyelids.

It’s like starburst, like cartooned starfish-

spot-stark under the sea illuminated.

Brilliance like that would shock anyone

awake from a Miller High Life slumber.

You wouldn’t think to point and shoot

at a walking tangerine. But retriever gold

or labrador yellow so closely resembles

the hides of bucks and does, and in the woods

in autumn, auburn-haired girls and boys

better wear scarves woven thick with threads

of sunset. One year in November, when late leaves

clung to trees and still bled chlorophyll,

I stretched upon a blanket of forest moss and pine.

Camouflaged and motionless, I sat and listened

to distant shouts of fire-the sounds like rockets, zapped

cherry bombs after Independence Day parades.

And above, all the colors still sparked the sky.

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc is poet who lives in Portland. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2017 Michelle Menting. It appears originally in “Leaves Surface Like Skin” (Terrapin Books, 2017) and appears here by permission of the author. For an archive of all the poems that have appeared in this column, go to

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