He wants to bring down the stag,
Unaware it’s meant to live.
females are expendable;
young males must live to propagate.
He flings it bleating into a bag
Eyes rolling, tongue askew --
‘it screams like a doe,’ he sneers,
with words that sound right in his ear.
But all his hunting is on video --
he doesn’t know.
I know a man who hunts,
Tracks triangular footprints through sere autumnal fields
Shotgun on shoulder, knife in hand
Taking life as dispassionately as god.
I’m not allowed to hunt by his side,
To steady throbbing neck
for knife’s cold kiss,
To inhale fog, burn landscape on my retina,
Seep cold into my bones,
Watch his broadshouldered back stalk life,
Because he doesn’t want me.
So I unwrap the bag and watch
As he unfolds himself, bolts free.
And now I wait at home,
Brew bitter soups of wormwood, comfrey and rue,
Soothe the fears of old and young
And huddle into winter,
Dreaming of dandelion greens, rose hips,
And blood glittering on grass like a benediction.