Wrapped in heavy down we are
sitting ducks, rotting leaves,
when expected to crunch, mash
from all the rain and the kick
from this .22 is far too strong
for prepubescent boys, tears
shoulder sinew from soft, fleshy arms.
Sparrows sing in the aligned crosshair
of my new Red Ryder. plunk. plunk.
plunk. One crumples and falls
like the seedling of a maple,
spinning like a helicopter
to the expectant forest floor.
I pinch that little bastard by its dead neck,
palpate the skull I put holes in
and pose for a picture, holler,
present the tiny carcass
to my father with pride.
Buckshot explodes, freckles the cornfield sky.
My father winged a goose and I
perform a heavy-handed choke that
bloodies my leather gloves. I strangle,
suffocate, pull life from feathered limbs.
I wipe blood on my overalls: