Monday, April 9, 2012
Image by J.L. Wooder
After thanking the Deer God
with a hunter’s adagio, he eviscerated
the spike with his thick sharp skinning knife,
scraping rib bones as the steaming entrails
emitted blood sausage odors,
thick and sickly, before
rolling the guts into a fat pile,
lunch for lurking wolves.
He easily lifted the small buck onto
his wooden-framed backpack, lashing
it tight with sailor’s knots over his chest,
beginning the jouncing hike back
down the winding trail returning
to his base camp, his hat pulled low,
his rifle clutched in his right hand,
his forehead crinkled against
the late morning’s glare.
The hemp frizz from his pack rope kept
tickling his left ear, sweat gathering
down his back, passing gneiss rainbow collages,
his calloused fingers thrumming
against the pack rails,
busily transmuting the pain in his shoulders
to a carnivore’s joy, daydreaming of venison steak
fried in flour, followed by marzipan spread thick
on sourdough biscuits.
His predator’s mentality was purely positive,
slaying only for sustenance. This was certainly
not some mawkish notion adopted from novels;
rather an outdoors-man's code.
Sleeveless by early afternoon, kneeling
in alpine heather, his heavily muscled arms busy
with the butchering of the buck, the iridium-black
handle soaked scarlet with blood, oddly,
he wondered again if undertakers still ate meat
after handling gray corpses all day.
Smiling, he saw that the glass lid for his iron skillet,
leaning against a jack pine, became a primitive prism,
dispersing sunlight into an iridescent peacock’s tail.
Forty miles from the highway, he could only
carve out a few prime pounds of steak,
which he would feast on during
the several days it would require for him
to walk out of paradise,
to be rudely shaken from
his woodman’s pristine slumber
and returned to the leaden life of labor
deep down in the concrete canyons,
where his knives remained sheathed
and his sad lungs would ache
for the sweetness of high mountain meadows.
Posted over on Monday Melting 12
Would you like to hear the author recite this poem for you?