Blood and babies spilt all over the ground 
                    when you shot the prairie dog through the stomach 
                    your bow through our second story window.  

You shrieked because you did not know it was pregnant.  
                    We tried to collect the squirming offspring in our hands.
                    There were too many.  What could we have done 

to save those underdeveloped lives, anyway?  
                    We watched the naked creatures scramble 
                    around the torn mother, exploring the earth 

in what few existing moments they had. 
                    It was August, and our faith had not been cracked yet.  
                    I was hypnotized by movement.  

The trance was broken when you asked
                    if we should say a prayer of offering
                    to the cooper's hawk that nested nearby,

believing she could take this death and transform it
                     into something with wings.  Knowing you feared 
                     this sacrifice could be in vain, I looked up to say yes, 

and saw you wiping blood from your arrow.

— Matthew Merson is a high school science teacher in the low-country of South Carolina.  This is his first publication.

Posted in