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Deer Hunt

Rating: 2.8
Because the warden is my cousin, my
mountain friends hunt in summer, when the deer
cherish each rattler-ridden spring, and I
have waited hours by a pool in fear
that manhood would require I shoot, or that
the steady drip of the hill would dull my ear
to a snake whispering near the log I sat
upon, and listened to the yelping cheer
of dogs and men resounding ridge to ridge.

I flinched at every lonely rifle crack,
my knuckles whitening where I gripped the edge
of age and clung, like retching, sinking back
then gripping once again the monstrous gun,
since I, to be a man, had taken one.
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4/20/2021 12:03:37 AM # 1.0.0.560