Dead Deer, Franz Marc

The fact is I think I am a verb instead of a personal pronoun. A verb is anything that signifies to be; to do; or to suffer. I signify all three. —Ulysses S. Grant

Bushkill, Pennsylvania. The doe and her fawn
from the shagbark

forty yards
from Ed,
who lifts his flintlock,

fires into mama’s flank.
We converge on her clawing the muck,
eyeing the run-offs, sucking air.

The scholar with his peccadilloes
pulls out a flask of cool tea,
takes a hit, hands it to me.

It feels like eons
since Troy, Antietam, Vietnam ’66.
“You botched the kill,” he says to Ed,

wipes tea from his chin,
freshens the powder
in the frizzen,

retracts the lever and—
non ignara mali, miseris succurrere disco—
lets her have it: a minie ball in the heart.