Primitive stirrings tinge my sleep.
Dawn’s grey mist welcomes my awakening coherence.
I traverse ice bound fields of summer’s past glory,
in search of winged game from the north.
I search for tundra dwellers that flee winter’s bleak death.
I seek the airborne migrants,
who call upon the brisk sting of morning chill.
Decoys are arranged on the shore of a vast waterway.
A believable trap is set.
I camouflage under the protection of a dormant tree.
Yellow grass, evidence of the forgotten warmth of longer days,
shields me from sharp eyes.
Peering out from the spent vegetation, I wait.
Scanning horizons with eyes and ears for the anticipated geese.
A soul chilling cold seeps beneath my layers.
My fingertips numb beneath stilled gloves.
They clutch the metallic instrument of death in my lap.
I fight urges to flee this hostile and frozen landscape.
Ice islands float about the closing waters of the reservoir,
pushed by stinging winds.
The breeze rustles the decayed plant life of the bottoms.
Finally I hear the call,
a shrill squawk of defiant life.
The gaggle approaches my deliberate display.
I bring the gun to braced shoulder.
The safety comes off.
A gliding bird is singled out as prey.
A fevered rush of frantic energy swelled through my rigid body.
Time condensed before untaken breath.
The metal trigger wrote smoke and flash to the once silent scene.
The acrid smell of gunpowder over fresh snow brought delight.
The bird’s flight was shattered.
End over end and downward the feathered being fell.
Bolting to it’s place of final rest,
I did not hesitate.
The last remnants of life I took with unashamed hands,
Ending the suffering of the magnificent creature.
Blood stained the pure backdrop of crystal waters and fine snow.
We were alone on the frozen shore.
In tribute to the fragile life I had ended,
I would with gratitude and awe,
make feast of the succulent flesh of my kill.