The flesh of a summer buck in the stew
on the stove of my father’s drinking buddy
gives off a scent of pain fused with cloves
like a hint of red wine that burns residually
or a bruise found next day upon waking.
I close my eyes and feel the hairline fracture
of morning dew cold in the pretty buck’s lungs,
the dirt pasty and black in the dingle beside a stream
as the candelabra of antlers rakes the air.
When my name is called like the bone bead
of an abacus pushed against its row, I enter
the room of plaid-shirted men — overweight
and unshy, they laugh with bottles of beer
like green cocks in their hands. And then
my father, drowning beneath the glass leaves
of the chandelier, recounts the kill.