blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1



Buck with a Broken Horn

First your ribs, your half-fleshed face, a hip socket
cocked above blown leaves—I call my eager pup
to "leave it"—then your rack, atypically narrow,
four points by the western count, sans eyebrow tine,
and finally the broken stump of your right horn
reminds me of the coyote chorus here two weeks ago.
Such jubilation that the owls fell silent.

It could have been the fourteen-point buck
that broke this near the base, a misplaced shot
from some early season hunter. I vote
for Mr. Big, killed days ago and processed
into steaks and summer sausage.
If I go hungry, neighbors say, it's my own fault,
because you'll feed us all, coyote, man, the lust
of does for stronger genes, and in the cold that waits
this year till spring to settle on the land,
the thousand gnawing teeth of mice,
and finally the land itself.  

return to top