The Ear as Rifle

Tania Van Winkle

When he sleeps

I go hunting


for the duration of a cigarette

beneath the bare bulb


porch light, never stepping from

inside its limited reach.


In the darkness

out beyond where the front walk


ends, they are there;

ginger steps.  Each footfall


the sounds that leaves make

as they freeze.  Steps one


by one a chest tightening

bone crackle of leaves


decomposing.  A cautious



sound of hooves.

I know they are out there


just past the ridge of trees



listening for me to make a move.

They never come


into my crescent of light.  Pine

needle and leaf all


will cease before

we ever meet.




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