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22 May 2024

The NS Poem: Civet de Cerf

A new poem by Pascale Petit.

By Pascale Petit

We are eating braised buck, while Papa
talks about hunting with his papi,

the rifles that were tall as him,
the twelve points on one stag, how it

reared into the sky. The hair on my head
stood upright, he says, like antlers.

And as he speaks, he opens the cabinet 
where he keeps his antique guns:

a Versailles hunting rifle embossed 
with gold, silver and platinum, 

a flintlock shotgun in its red silk case, 
as if I’d rummaged inside his chest 

and retrieved his heart.

Pascale Petit is the author of eight collections of poetry, including “Mama Amazonica” (Bloodaxe, 2017), which won the Ondaatje Prize and the inaugural Laurel Prize. Her debut novel “My Hummingbird Father” is published by Salt in September

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This article appears in the 22 May 2024 issue of the New Statesman, Spring Special 2024