Wild Court

An international poetry journal based in the English Department of King’s College London

‘The Kill’ – a poem by Andrew Jordan

Photo by Daniel Burka on Unsplash   


    The Kill


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.