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Shifting Gears
Gail Goepfert

Look at the deer, look at the deer,
Grandma said to my brother,
sister and me to distract us
from our displeasure
at being three abreast
in the back seat
of our boring beige Chevy.

It worked then. We always looked.

Deer sightings,
temporary respite
in the landscape of endless
fields of corn and soybeans
up and down Illinois route 66.

Not today.
No child’s eyes leave
the car’s player for DVDs,
handheld playstations,
Facebook posts, cellphone texts.
No ears unglue
from phones or earbuds
for the iPod, the MP3.

Today, if grandma said,
Look at the deer,
Who would look? Who would care?

No one would know
that Grandma’s deer were just cows anyway.

This poem first appeared in After Hours (Fall, 2011).
Used here with the author’s permission.


Gail Goepfert is a poet, amateur photographer, and teacher. Currently, she is an associate editor of RHINO Poetry. Her first chapbook, A Mind on Pain, was released by Finishing Line Press early in 2015, and her poetry and photos appear in numerous print and online publications. Gail lives  in the Chicagoland area. Learn more about her at


Post New Comment:
Like your poem Gail.
Posted 07/18/2012 04:49 PM

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