First Constable at Town Meeting
You might see me at Town Meeting
standing at the back of our elementary
school gym. No badge. No special
uniform. Dressed in Carhartt pants
and a hunter’s red, plaid vest.
Even when it’s true I’m no hunter
and hold no grudges for those that do.
During bow-and-arrow season.
Which is a polite and skillful way
to take down a deer. Butcher it to fit
inside a freezer. Later, let it marinate–
I mean the doe–until
the venison’s tender as a pad
of butter. One of my neighbor’s
slow-cooking in a crockpot
in our town hall lobby.
For anyone who wants a taste
of game. Who won’t be offended
by knowing how it came to be here.
Like me, I’m thinking, for fifty years
now. A true flatlander. Originally
from Boston. A city of muskets
and roasted pheasants. Of boiled
corned beef and cabbage.
Of North End pasta and Brookline
bagels. Of breaded pieces
of Roxbury fried chicken.
On duty, I shouldn’t be
When it’s my only charge
as their first constable. To pay
attention to all my neighbor-
citizens, as they stand to voice
their dear opinions.
Without getting too rowdy.
Which, if one of them did,
say the one wearing antlers
or the professor going on
and on as if he was standing
at a faculty meeting,
it would be me the moderator
calls on next. To escort
them to the room for
kindergartners. To cool off.
To remember where they are.
Where the deer lie down
back there in the Cornwall swamp.
Where on this day every year
at Town Meeting in our Vermont,
we vote for the life we want.
We can afford or not. With just
a first and second constable.