Hunting Season

Rifle cleaned and newly sighted
hot coffee in the thermos
autumn leaves crackling underfoot
a four-point buck enjoying a
sweet-grass breakfast

Breathe deeply
slowly let it out
squeeze gently
that rainbow arc of terrible geometry
the brutal impact
the buckling knees
and the difference in the eyes
before and after

No more mountain meadow cool
no antlered head held high
no sampling the autumn breeze
he is dead
No!
it is dead
cold at my feet
lifeless
inanimate
nothing

I remember it all
over and over through the years
I felt no pride
no manliness
no sense of competence
I felt sad
I wish I had missed
I wish I could tell the tale
of the one that got away
and I wasn’t even hungry

I didn’t go hunting that morning
I went killing
I don’t condemn those who do
that’s what we do
we humans
life feeds on life
we kill
we live
we kill

I took no joy in the killing
in destroying the only gift
of any importance
I take life seriously
and yet
I had intentionally taken life

I have not done so since

But I have not needed to

Marv Himmel
November 17, 2016 ©

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