Journal of Writing & Environment

I found and flushed and shot a partridge.

The dog fetched it, still half-alive until


I put my thumb beneath its chin

then popped its neck like so many cans of soda.


I stuffed it in the game pouch of my vest.

For an hour it ticked out life’s nervous coda:


Heat spread under my skin,

spurs twitched against my spine.


So for years my heart’s vulgar plumage,

the lies and guilt I kill, then pocket.