The hunter

Lance Sheridan

From under the dry-mud crunch of a hunter’s boot
white frost juts;
he names a quarry, starts a pheasant in a flush
winging it most nimble
to brushy fencerow in a crop field,
stalks a spaniel, shrewd courser.

Shoulder-humps a wife, he says, drudged
up from a past eaten dust
and dried plates of food with old hair
dead in sunlight, moleskin has;
hefting a pan cast-iron hulled black
on a gas stove, she scours for a match.

For his feast look, a scant acre hunt yields:
each frozen finger burrowed cold
in a sock-glove, winter nubbed white;
grain alcohol sprung commonly,
hauled to a whiskered mouth,
opening like a dangerous wound.

Winter roosts well within the wood,
crow songs to suit a depressed mood
he saunters in; how glad though
could his adam’s woman be
when all his words do summon
leaps into the good book and a prayer.

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