Photo by Daniel Burka on Unsplash
In your room, holding the cartridge, you imagined flames packed like petals in a bud, poppy red. Uncrimped, the hull revealed, instead, only seeds. Having tasted saltpetre and sulfur, ingested chemistry, mimed stock, action and barrel, linked vital spark in hunter, gun and quarry, I saw combustion through the engine of the hunt. This is what the kill entails: the bird or animal, solemnly lifted, like one mourned, hung, gutted, becomes the cavity my own ribs cradle. Creeping out, first thing, I saw rows of pheasants, braced for the butchers; the back garden, morbidly displaced. Neither sensed nor seen by what went over my head, motionless, I watched geese that caught the light at altitude. Walking close behind, around field edge and marsh, I came to know when to follow and when to be transfixed. Be aware. You intrude. Unwelcome here. Keep low. Blend in. Then make your move and picture yourself in the startled eye.