Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Death Dealing

Nights after my father has been in the woods on his day off, he knocks his muddy boots against the back steps and the wooden sound, quick and dull, always precedes his entrance into the house. My father pulls the squirrels out of the back of his hunting vest one at a time and tosses them on the newspaper spread out on the kitchen floor by my mother as soon as she heard his car in the driveway, saying as she layers the paper, Talmadge and his mess, my father tossing the squirrels on the paper, dealing dead and stiff and cold creatures instead of cards. There is no sign on most of them of having been shot down from the tops of oak trees, the hair on their tails when he arranges them in a row the only thing still lifelike about them. A beer and sharp hunting knife at hand, he settles down on a low stool and picks one up, his hand and the dead squirrel moving up and down to gauge the weight of it before he pinches up the skin and fur on the stomach and makes an incision large enough for two fingers.

1 comment:

  1. A few lines and you've painted a picture as resonant and layered as a chapter of five pages. Very nice.