This week’s poem, Maya Critchfield’s “An Ode to Hunter’s Orange,” pays homage to a color, a memory and a family relationship. I love how this poem presents a hue giving rise to language – both the words said aloud and the words left unsaid.

Critchfield is an artist and writer living in Portland. She writes softly about hard things through the lens of a naturalist upbringing, tempered with a degree in human ecology from College of the Atlantic. Her work has previously appeared in the Maine Sunday Telegram, and her first poetry collection, “Vernal Litany,” was put out by Le Bateau Ivre, an imprint of Bateau Press, in 2021.

Poets, please note that submissions to Deep Water are open through the end of the year. Deep Water is especially eager to share poems by Black writers, writers of color, Indigenous writers, LGBTQ writers, and other underrepresented voices. You’ll find a link to submit in the credits below. 

An Ode to Hunter’s Orange

By Maya Critchfield

A call for attention,
caution, and beauty.
A warning, a signal, a spell.
Careful and alert;
flaming bright like fire,
like daylilies, marigolds, egg yolks, setting suns –
something to pay attention to.
Urgent, blaze orange says
I love you,
in the voice of my grandmother.
I want to keep you safe.
100 meters from her door to ours;
I didn’t know until I was grown
what she was saying
when she tugged those bright clothes
over our resistant limbs –
I love you.
I want to keep you safe
as you move through this world.

Megan Grumbling is a poet and writer who lives in Portland. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. “Ode to Hunter’s Orange,” © 2022 by Maya Critchfield. Submissions to Deep Water are open now and through the end of the year. For more information, go to

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