>Hart Mountain


I hold the leg back
while my father
makes the first incision.

It is here,
September desert mountain,
dry creek bed,
cervidae refuge,
where woods thicken
humid and dark,
where sons father dreams,
birds dash from tree to tree
like anxious spirits
in silhouette.

It is here,
oblivious to
the swarming flies,
knees locked in silence,
I watch the knife blade
deftly moving in bloody hands;
entrails glistening,
antlers digging earth,
eyes once bewildered
now like glass.

It is here,
down this lethal ravine,
shimmering blood on leaves,
broken branch of frantic motion,
cloven prints in soft soil,
and shouts from the ridge above,
I lunged headlong
with rifle ready
tired limbs forgotten,
following instinct and fear.

It is here,
guts now spilling
green-yellow stench
from belly wound,
where I last heard
the painful breathing,
and motioning,
directed the final blow.


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