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away from the road 27
He walked up the grassy slope
for a closer look. In the quiet
the bright fruit hung motionless.
He never saw another person,
nor a sign of one, back here,
nor even any livestock.
He had come out here in part,
he now knew, for the stillness.
There were no noises here --
only sounds, to be listened for.
Once his wife had come along
with him and a friend, hunting
at dusk, just outside the town.
The friend brought down a squirrel,
it ran off , he and the friend
lunged after it, stumbling, on
rocks and downed wood in deep leaves.
He recalled her clear laughter --
clear of derision: to her
the chase was pure comedy....
That night they ate squirrel he
had shot. Like chicken, they said.
But no -- an alien tang
which cooking, and seasoning,
could never quite get rid of
caused them an uneasiness
that, though slight, persisted
like the strong scent of the fresh
pelt still in the kitchen. And
bits of the underfur, pale,
hard to see, stuck to the meat....