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  You could have a big dipper   


CW: Animal death, covid-19

White-tails hang from

The buck pole downtown

Dripping blood on the sidewalk

Ink-stamp a trail of burgundy

Bootprints across the

Linoleum of the gun shop

Where downstate hunters

Exchange contagion for sport

Pittering my windshield

Sheets of graupel whip sideways

As turkeys, in strutting bravado,

Barricade the pickup doors

Picking fights with anyone

Willing to listen

I throw a field stone

Bouncing it first on the driveway —

an act of regrettable mercy —

The granite ricochets and thuds

Meaningless off a big tom’s puffed chest

We kick the birds away and

escape to the house

That evening,

The wife and I perform

The boys’ bedtime ritual

Pour two rocks glasses full

Stain the countertop

(spilled vermouth, dashed bitters)

To chaos we wake unrested

Retracing steps to lost face masks

Scrambling to locate homework

Save my kids,

The school bus is empty again

(Deep-cleaned, desensitized and alone)

Their classmates already pulled from school

Infected or feckless or ashamed

The neighbors decorated

Earlier than normal for Christmas

Eaves of perpetually dripping icicle

Lights, listlessly strobing a lawn

Ornamented in styrofoam reindeer

Guarding some sort of hollow prayer


Tim Chilcote is a writer, fisherman and poker player. Follow him on Twitter @TimChilcote.

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