Hunting

At Age Eight

Early morning pink
filtered through the forest canopy
while I aimed for stealth
enough to kill.

With every twig snapped
and leaf crushed
chill air bored through my bones.
My brother walked ahead
with the rifle and a quiet tread.

Tree limbs quivered
as chattering squirrels
ran unseen.

Then a sharp report and echo.
A small form dropped
through foliage
to the ground.
Red glistened on a green leaf.

I stood transfixed
by sightless, black bead eyes,
a body slipped into a canvas bag.

We moved on,
the whole world grown still
except my clodding feet.

I never learned to disappear.

At Age Eight

Early morning pink

filtered through the forest canopy

while I aimed for stealth

enough to kill.

With every twig snapped

and leaf crushed

chill air bored through my bones.

My brother walked ahead

with the rifle and a quiet tread.

Tree limbs quivered

as chattering squirrels

ran unseen.

Then a sharp report and echo.

A small form dropped

through foliage

to the ground.

Red glistened on a green leaf.

I stood transfixed

by sightless, black bead eyes,

a body slipped into a canvas bag.

We moved on,

the whole world grown still

except my clodding feet.

I never learned to disappear.

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