Jeremy Rock

Field Dress
by Jeremy Rock

I drive by your house, sometimes, the way
an aging hunter runs his hand over
a buffalo pelt, a broken hart’s spine, feeling
for the crack in the thaw that will take you

under. There is no death in shaving
cream, melons, gallon jugs of water; only
the snap, the eggshell sunder where the pressure
just points out. You grew up scraping guts

from pumpkins, bravery in how deep you would pulp
and string your hand. Now it is the grit in your mouth,
leather strap gripped tight, forgive me
hot ash on the palate. Your father made you come out

to the snow, thread a thirty-eight special through the drifts,
tear the skin from soda cans at thirty paces, then complained
of the good scrap you were wasting. You were to mud
up your face, dig your boots into the cold metal

of the blind, and wait until you could hear a heartbeat so loud
the only way back is to take it. You only get one
shot.
Exhale, squeeze. Birds breach the canopy, a king
absconds (you learn not to smile) with his crown.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 22, Issue 3.

Jeremy RockJeremy Rock is from Frederick, Maryland, and is a graduate of Salisbury University. He has work published or forthcoming in Ninth Letter, Waccamaw, The Shore, Stonecoast Review, The New Mexico Review, and elsewhere.

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