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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 rid it of
caused them an uneasiness
that, though slight, had 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....
On one late November day
he came up the wagon-track
through the stands of long-bare trees,
mild sunlight came slanting in,
the diff erent trunk-shadows
ahead of him were soft gray.
He stepped through shafts of the light.