Brian Fanelli

Imagining My Father’s Reaction to Climate Change

Hard to say what he’d think,

I mean my father,

I mean the man who rose at dawn,

laced up boots, loaded a rifle,

shot deer and tied them to our porch.

I remember their bellies slit open post-butcher

and that moment my sister cried

after my dad said he killed Rudolph.

What would my father,

the man who hammered tree stands,

make of worst-case climate scenarios?

What would he say about all this rain

in PA, about the inches that fell in December

instead of snow?

My father dragged dead bucks in snow,

but also slowed down to eye deer,

awed by the grace of their movement,

the way they bowed their heads when eating grass,

the way they stopped and stared at his pick-up

if he hugged the dirt road too close to their fields.

My father even pointed out geese flying v-shaped

and animal prints in mud.

Maybe my father wouldn’t debate but instead

wander into the woods, dressed in hunter orange

Maybe he’d climb the tree stand, set his rifle aside,

and for a moment at least, just stop and witness

the snap of twigs or rustle of leaves,

the flash of a deer’s brown coat,

that majestic animal beauty that always caught his gaze.


Brian Fanelli's most recent book is Waiting for the Dead to Speak (NYQ Books), winner of the Devil's Kitchen Poetry Prize. His writing has been published in the LA Times, World Literature Today, Main Street Rag, Paterson Literary Review, Pedestal, and elsewhere. Brian is also a film critic for Signal Horizon Magazine and He has an M.F.A. from Wilkes University and a Ph.D. from Binghamton University. Currently, he is an assistant professor of English at Lackawanna College. Follow him on Twitter: @BrianJFanelli1.

About the Artist