- Hunting Poy Sippi Swamp
My father tows the lightof early morning throughFremont's oil glazed glare,a rainbow of swamp fumesfollowing like a halo.
Eagles trace creases in the sky,orbiting alder branches, crane shadow.The orange seam of morningpunches through a gray horizon.
A seven pointer groans at my feet,spine clipped from ricochet,jaw unhinged, tongue arcingtoward my boot print in the snow.
Blood rushes to my ears as I snapa bullet into the chamber, a sealof metal around metal, doorsshivering to be thrust open.
My father would have pulled the triggerby now. He would be slicingat the layers of hide to the triangleof sternum, intestines and stomachspilling in a steam trail, piled like tea leaves.
But I need to go somewhere elseas I lift the rifle—a dark roomwhere a maple tree growsthrough a wood floor. I tap itand it whispers, each syllablelighting the room for a momentlike the wave of a lighthouse beam. [End Page 22]
As I drag the deer, its hind legsbound like a prisoner, I watcha red tail hawk diving into a nearbyfield. I turn around, my father stillhalf a mile behind, hat crooked,orange overalls unbuttoned. I stopto sit on the buck's hollow rib cage,my heart filling up with ghosts. [End Page 23]
Scott Hightower is the author of four books in English and one that is bilingual (Spanish-English). Translations of poems from a manuscript by the Spanish-Puerto Rican poet Aurora de Albornoz garnered him a Willis Barnstone Translation Prize. He teaches as adjunct faculty at NYU and Drew University. A native of central Texas, he lives in Manhattan and sojourns in Spain.