Hans Ostrom (1954 / California)
On Finally Understanding the Notion of a Happy Hunting Ground
Killing is not possible on the Other Side.
One variation of God, though, will want
to hunt empty-rifled with my father, greet
a blue morning open-coated, snort pine air,
listen to lunatic hounds, watch epic-bodied
bears break trees running, recall how
hunting requires no prey, is mainly
mischief, dance, and gab.
And now bears are long-gone five
ridges away, the dogs stoned on loads
of scent and frenzy. Comes the long ride
home in an old green steel-bodied truck,
the expression of long brown lariats
of tobacco juice. God for kicks tries out
my father’s talk, says, Sonofabitchin’ bear
must have gone five hundred pounds, had to.
On a star-bashed night, bear’s spirit
mixes with my father’s. The hybrid soul
rumbles through canyons of a river in the sky.
Sitting on a galactic porch somewhere, God
might like to hear a coyote chorus cry
an oratorio, one so eerie it summons bears
out of hibernation, calls them
to the altar of the moon.
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