Creak and rattle from the woods. A distant gunshot. Overhead, the shapely cumulus could almost be a summer sky, if it didn’t move so fast.
A blaze-orange hunting coat floats through the snowy woods, out-of-place as a sign in the desert: burning bush, billboard, neon whorehouse.
A cold, wet morning that must test the hunters’ mettle. Over the rain, the rattle of the window-tapping cardinal clashing with her nemesis.
Blue overhead, and the frost so heavy, it looks like a light snow. From the barnyard, the voices of hunters returning with their first kill.
The opening day of rifle season. Deer run back and forth through the laurel—each shift of the wind must bring a different human’s stink.
The still, gray morning is interrupted by the stuttering roar of a pickup full of hunters hauling an enormous homemade wooden tree stand.
Halfway up the ridge, a flashlight bobs through the trees, stops, goes out. Then the rustling thuds of hooves in dry leaves. Then silence.