Saturday, April 16, 2011


the wings of the mallard beat furiously on takeoff;
shallow mud-gray lake water
rippled with the beat;
the hunter arose from his crouch in the blind
where he had scratched his genitals
waiting in his squatting position;
discharge of shot from the silver-gray barrel
smacked flatly against the cold, foggy morning silence;
the mallard escaped its awkward initial ascension,
veering unknowingly before the gun fired;
balls of shot dimpled the water, plip, plip;
the hunter spit in disgust;
the retriever, after tensing for the plunge,
settled back on his haunches,
resting his jowls on his front paws.
the mallard, out of range,
slowly glided up and into the low, dark clouds.
the hunter had expected the ducks from above;
the rise of the mallard
from its hiding place in the tall reeds
detracted from his normally sure aim;
still, as he watched the grace and freedom
of the mallard in flight,
he was relieved death had not succeeded
for a moment.

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