• Penny Harter


After long creative drought, this for today:

Turkey Crossing

Two different flocks of wild turkeys scuttle across the country road, running from one patch of woods and field to another. A few are white with black stripes almost like zebras, others with feathers from brown to grey, black to rust.

Here and there, a hunter’s empty pickup hugs the roadside. Most deer I’m seeing these autumn dusks are small ones, appear less afraid than their mothers who have probably been killed. This is also turkey-hunting season.

There are myths about white turkeys—some say they gave fire to Native Americans by shaking off their colored feathers, or that they gave us corn.

smoke-white turkey

fading into twilight mist—

litter of oak leaves

Here and there one bird is solo, but most move together, a community. Sometimes they congregate on the ample still-green lawn of a house set back in the woods. Deer do that, too. Perhaps they feel safer there than in the woods where the hunters are stalking.

construction paper

turkeys and pilgrim hats

on classroom windows

We gather together / to ask the Lord’s blessing . . .

Come ye thankful people come / sing the song of harvest home . . .

Remembered hymns echo in the chancel of my skull. I hum them as I ride between the autumn trees, many half bare already, into the country of night.

Now the light’s too dim to see deer or turkeys hiding in tangles of laurel and thorny shrubs, or lost among tall grass in rapidly darkening fields. But I know they are there, going about their nocturnal lives, and I give thanks.

this holiday season—

so hard to count our blessings,

and yet . . .

(c) 2020 Penny Harter

1 view

Recent Posts

See All


So happy to be writing again! Special thanks to Neesa Maloney for her posts of Nov. 9th and 10th sharing info about this practice as well as about the truck crash. When I told her I might write about


I'm beyond thrilled and very honored to be included in this gorge ous anthology *The Plague Papers*. Deep thanks to Robbi Nester and Cati Porter at Poemeleon for the obvious hard work that went into t