Pheasant Hunt

The smell of your own small body as you waited
that morning in the wooden crate to be released
the sides dark with dew and lined with scratches
from those who had waited before you
as the sun rose between the trees
still silver in the light
openings between the leaves
ashy with moon powder only seen by birds
or the small animals safely tucked within their knots
the bend of a low limb catching your eye
a place you know you could fit yourself
to roost in sheltered trees at night
having flown home to be returned
to all of the beauty
you so closely watch
as it passes before your eyes

as they have released you now
and you tremble with a bolt of life within you
electric against the still air that takes you in
as if to hold you in its arms
and you feel for a moment that you are spared
until the shots fire and you feel them before you understand
knowing that you fall now
into the wet grass that smells of youth and of love
the dog’s breath warm above you
your shining eyes searching the sun-filled sky
for one final glance

as your whole soul leaps from you
and begs to softly say goodbye
to all of that beauty around you.

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