A Hunting Story

That one summer Saturday late-morning
breakfast over and you hop
into your father’s truck,

not the company one
but the shit one,
the one before company money,
the one that smelled like
high school beer,
self-changed oil,
cigarettes of a time your father wasn’t your father.

The hot breeze blows in from cracked windows
and cracked floorboards
and the steady hum
reminds you of your cat
but not the shit one
that hisses when you go near the food bowl
but the one that loves you
and sleeps on your feet,
lets you pet it too hard.

That warm hum that seemed to permeate comfort and heat
when your father took you hunting
for the first time in the very truck,
the shit one
that my father drove
when he wasn’t my father.

In Montana, the most tender thing you can do
is put a gun in the hands of someone you love.

You left at unknown hours.

You left for unknown weather.

You left for unknown coulees –
the things of childhood memories:
Digging out that old, shit truck from a snow drift.

My father laughed,
dressed gruesomely in orange and red,
sipped on a beer,
checked his fingers for blood,
checked my fingers for cold,

stuffing cut spruce into the wheels rotating on
snow turned ice underneath

that truck, which now rots in some yard far from my father’s house,
bones of a frame, eviscerated, used, appreciated,
cherished but now gone,

a sacrifice
for me and my brother.


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