If He Returns

My dogs drag home a doe
and pull her up the stairs to the porch
where they tear hunks of flesh and chew.
The drag marks upon the snow
lead three-quarters of a mile
into the wood to where she collapsed—
blood loss from gut-shot trauma.
I follow the drops another half mile
to a slight ravine where a red spray
displays the bullet’s direction
and spot the spruce tree it thudded into.
Nearby, I find human bootprints
that refused to pursue the doe
and finish it off with a mercy blow
then take home the meat.
The bootprints lead to a tree
with wooden rungs up into a blind
vacant except for an empty whiskey flask
and two Egg McMuffin wrappers.
My big waffle stompers
create an easy path to follow
through the snow back to the cabin
as I get tools to dismantle the blind
and relieve the spruce tree from its burden.
I know unless it snows to cover that path
it leads the hunter back to me.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


This poem is part truth, part fancy. In the 1980s I lived at the dead end of a dirt road in rural Colorado. My dogs did drag home a dead dear once and pulled it up onto the porch to feast. But that was the end of it as far as truth goes.

It was bad enough being out for walks with my dogs and getting the occasional pot shot taken at us by stupid people who should never have been issued a hunting license. The federal land my acres backed up against were not hunting lands. Those lands were a few miles away. The house got hit twice over four years by shots that missed the target.

When stupid people mistook myself and my dogs for deer, antelope or elk and fired their rifles in our direction, I did get to practice (and increase) my cuss word vocabulary. Due to lack of use in the new century, my cussing is not as colorful as it once was.

Love & Light. Tree & Leaf.


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