The Hunter

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He is obsessed with deer. The way they move,
in packs, in fractals, scampering from hill
to gully and to hill again, their gaggles,
their scatterings, persnickety and quick.
Their scientific names, their sweet cloven
feet, their pelage with its gradient
from ash to ink along the dorsal stripe—
satin surrounding bounding breathing meat—
he loves to stake them out. He loves to wait,
perfectly still and perfectly alone,
embedded in the forest like a molecule
of air embeds itself in other air—
nobody knows he’s there; he barely knows
that he himself is there. And then the deer—
among the trees they are demure and deft,
they are the warp and his breath is the weft,
and time unfolds its textile around them,
swirling and standing still and dazzling
and being profound and mild all at once.
Killing them is my least favorite part, he says.
But no-one would understand me otherwise.
A careful doe, her tiptoes through the leaves.
He’s close enough to see her amber eyes.
Her lashes flicker gently when she blinks.
He is a perfect shot. He doesn’t pause.
Love is what comes before this moment—love
is what the shotgun buys. She falls. She dies.