Pheasant Hunting

by A. Sea Herndon

Pheasant Hunting

Nineteen below

by Fahrenheit’s count

just “damn cold” in Kansas

boots and bird-dogs

crack the Western silence

crunch the ice

of close-cropped fields of milo

There are a string of isolated men

alone enough to hunt together

Far on the horizon:

a silo suggests

that something must have grown here once

long ago as some lost Eden

& windmills stand

giants really

lined up like pheasant hunters

their blade-like arms

mocking turn

as if time itself did not exist

turning frozen breath into electricity

for some impossible unseen city

on some impossible unseen hill

I am wont to take a gun

and tilt at them

Snowdrift thoughts

days are dreams

the landscape flat as lifeless

And then as if by magic

from the frozen dust of the earth

a bird flaps up to paint the sky

greens and reds splashed onto gray

an intricate study of browns and black

but purples too

and iridescent blues

an unbelievable design

designed for unbelievers

But we have seen!

We have believed!

Someone yells

shots are fired

& as quickly as he rose

the phoenix falls back to the ashes

a snowfall of soft feathers

follows back to seed the barren soil

Indescribable beauty

irrefutable death

the brevity of the moment

both bird and man

now startled

To my sons and fellow kinsman, happy hunting this weekend & be safe!