DWIGHT PEARL HUNTS NELSON PARK
He keeps to shadows, quick to duck behind
a tree or shrub, his gun in case, the last
of him to fall in place. He runs and crawls
and hops the picnic tables damp from dusk,
then sneaks up to the fence and hides behind
an elm to spot his doe. The deer can sense
his presence, darting fast inside their pen.
They group into a corner. Dwight can see
his girl. She's not the old one, penned for life,
that craps a liquid after corn or leaves.
His deer is bigger, birthed a couple fawns
in May. He zips the case and grabs his gun
and knife, then hears the regulars who drink
The Main, inside his head, their voices harsh
from lounging day by day. "He's never killed
a deer," they laugh. But Dwight is here to kill
and strips his clothes, except for boots and socks,
and climbs the fence, no shirt to snag. He lands
in trampled mud and smears it down his cheeks
and arms for scent. They said a deer could smell
him coming miles away. His anger builds.
He stands and aims the gun, then fires. A shot.
A thump. The echo piercing night and calm.
A rush, and Dwight is hacking gut and neck.
The meat won't taste the same, but Dwight won't know,
and doesn't care no wild or stolen fruit
was found to tenderize or sweeten right
and naturally. But Dwight knows sugar, salt,
and pepper make a simple spice for meat
or anything. He only cuts a steak
or two and throws the meat onto his clothes.
He saws the head and rips it off, then chucks
it over too. The blood is thick and drips
from finger tips, as Dwight begins to scale
the fence. The metal lattice dulls with red
before he jumps and wipes the blood on chest
and face. He licks his fingers, tastes his doe,
the hunter wild inside him. Dwight retreats
and jumps into the river, washing mud
and red from clothes, himself, the head and meat.
At dawn, the men who find the mess report
it to police, and say that, "Dwight's been here
a lot. He keeps on asking what they eat."
But there's no proof, except the head, and Dwight
would never tell its secret whereabouts.
He knows it's safe from cops and men who snoop
around his shack. But they won't find it there.
And Dwight has claimed that night he drank The Main
and can't remember when he came or left.
A couple people saw him there but tell
policemen they're not sure what time. So Dwight
is confident his girl is fine, the meat
a tasty memory. That night. The kill.
The head he talks about, but no one's seen.