Hunting Elmer Fudd
I loaded both barrels like slotting light behind an eye,
and I put on a deerstalker to hunt Elmer; it was time.
Frosty tongues, grass asked no questions. Inklings
of snow swept a mess of footprints leading to the woods.
All around me deer moved the trees. Antlers hung sky
from a hook, wore holes in the neck of the hour.
Nature, human or otherwise, was none of my business.
Elmer, only, on the veranda brim of my cap. Perched
on tracks of creatures beyond him, he caught my gun.
I caught myself in the brine of his stare. He ran.
Amazing, how a finger on a trigger rifles through a mind.
Paws of the hunted graced him, dangled from my line of fire.
He wove in and out of remembered rooms through the trees,
heart tugging a cord like a bathroom light behind his eyes.
Leaf dappled, his head, my arms held its distance, kissed
the shine of his brow. A life’s breath catching up, he paused.
I thought of how fat men undress, unpeel one layer of shame
at a time to fall onto a lover’s gaze, saints giving self to swords.
And I imagined young Elmer, how he began to hate wabbits.
Too cruel to love something he couldn’t say, he loaded up.
The woods rustled feelings that wouldn’t stay in one place,
pets that wouldn’t answer to names. I cocked my gun.
(Hunting Elmer Fudd was commended in 2012 Cafe Writers Poetry Competition)
Angela Readman‘s poetry has been shortlisted in the Mslexia poetry competition and commended in the Arvon International Poetry Competition. Her collection Strip was published by Salt. She’s recently started letting her short stories out of the house.