Town Poet and First Constable, Gary Margolis, Provides This For Your Reading Pleasure!

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


remembering now.

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.