‘The Deer’ by Shira Erlichman

— Hannah Cohen

if an orchard can be a kitchen or a library or a bed

From the fleshiness of animals to the busy-body people present in this world, Shira Erlichman’s newest poem gives us body, body, and body. The insides of fruit and bodies are present in vibrant phrases like “red-white”, “ate her”, and “no eyes”. Deer, often seen as a symbol of innocence and nature, become violence against the self and society. The word “orchard” appears four times in this poem, depicting a place of lushness but also a place where things are plucked and taken—consider how this line “my animals, / my me, thighs so pale they’re see-through” blurs the boundary between poet and the non-human other. The surreality of these men carrying dead animal carcasses on a busy Brooklyn street juxtaposed with the speaker’s own body makes you question who (or what) will be consumed and what will be left.

The Rumpus