Forbidden the shotgun, my father
tried to kill the wounded deer with a crossbow,
and then the shovel he asked me to fetch
from the shed. Grass stiffened to spikes
beneath my feet. The season’s first freeze.
The toolshed was a skin of aluminum
I was happy, for a moment, to
wear. And still the trees were noisy,
even without their leaves. Squirrels
clawed their faces and the fields
ran loose in the wind. Among
acorns and husks and leaves,
he stood. In sawdust and in blood.
He chewed and spat. His chest
rose and fell.
Nothing is redeemed until
it remembers its fall. Unless it has
like snow, falling
branches and boughs, falling
and forgetting my father and me.