I've Never Been Hunting

He glassed the clearing before us,
and I watched his stony face,
hidden behind binoculars
slowly turn away from the orange sun
that rose above us.
He scanned right,
towards the southeast,
where a gang of deer clustered
beneath the billowing of an oak tree
gleaming brown, casting long shadows
that waved across the tops
of the parched crabgrass in the wind.
The interstate rushed far past the conifers,
and mutely colored leaves blew around us.

I crooked my wrist to fit the rifle butt
deeper into my armpit.
My father squinted at me
from behind the binoculars
and I closed one eye
and pressed the other to the scope
while clouds passed over.

The deer stood scattered
over the pasturage,
and their light fur fluttered
one direction and then another
as the cold wind shifted directions,
and some hung their curved necks
down into grass blowing
around their tapered ankles.

I moved the target dot
to the chest of one the bucks
who stood, his neck craned,
looking out across the meadow
as the sun reemerged
and crowned his tilted head.
My finger groped for the trigger,
and I spat out of the side of my mouth
as a warm hand lay across my back.
The .30-06 punched into my shoulder
as the deer tripped over itself
into the grass.