In my cornstalk palisade,
Protected by sunscreen, earplugs, and UV glasses,
I watch for ever-scarcer dove
On a foam-lined swivel seat,
Replete with shells, cold drinks and snakebite kit,
Though there’s greater danger now from ants,
Scavengers whose fiery bites and matriarchs,
Whose talent for communal life,
Surely will inherit them the earth.
A jeep has brought me to my station.
Hardly aerobic, this sport,
Modern conscience nags.
And someone’s left his truck so close
That western sun glints on the glass
Like a thousand neon lights,
So I wonder why I crouch in camouflage.
The birds don’t fly;
The sun eases down,
Degree by slow degree.
I break a long dead stalk of corn
And chew it out of boredom,
Amazed that there’s the slightest trace
Of tender summer green,
Like the wispy scent remaining
Long after the press of flesh on flesh.
Why always in the woods
Is there this ache of pleasure?
Does the earth thrum up some primal pulse?
Or is this an ancient distant call
From that lost pair in the garden,
Or a simple oneness with the season,
Wearing the harvest landscape on my shoulders,
Matching its tawny fields and mottled remnant greens,
Trading the electric hum of home
For the sibilance of cornstalks,
And a wet winter wind.
We are hunting here, to be alive,
Even if no gray dove ghost down,
Out of the dove gray sky. n
Ann Sheils is a native of Savannah, Georgia, and has been a teacher, an editor, and a writer. When time allows, she enjoys wingshooting and fishing.