The Deer I
They would fire on three. Red leaves, yellow leaves, green leaves. The shot—like the birth of his son. The leaves. The animal. The son cowered in the bushes. The father took the son’s gun and counted. One through six bullets. The son had not fired the gun. Leaves clicked as the deer bled through them. Now—the father was a fool.
The Deer II
The beauty of a deer split cleanly. The split smells a tree, as if you’ve cut a log. The parts of the deer are separated from the deer. The pieces, detached from the deer, do not bleed on their own. They are arranged logically on a tarp. The deer must be cleaned. And then the gun must then be cleaned. The gun is disassembled on a table above the deer. It is all put back into pieces. This is gorgeous in the case of the gun and the deer. The father was not a caveman. He made precise heavy cuts. The son put his hands in the deer. The son’s hand filled with pearls.
The Deer III
A father and son see a deer full of tumors and call animal control.
Animal control says that, if, and only if, a tumor falls on the ground, will they come.
Finally, a tumor is found in the leaves and there is a trail of blood.
The father and son follow the blood into the woods.
This is in the middle of Fall. It smells like leaves. The leaves are everywhere. There are leaves on the ground. There are leaves in the trees.
The deer is in a clearing, alone, eating leaves.
The father and son see it.
The son falls over. The shock of the deer.
The father goes to the deer.
The deer falls over. The shock of cancer.
Everywhere, the deer is swollen.
The father takes the deer by the antlers.
He must do it. If he does not do it, the deer will take days to die.
The father is watched by the son.
The father, using the grip of the antlers, turns.
It is not unlike turning a ship.
Bob Selcrosse grew up with his mother, selling books, in the Pacific Northwest. He is now working on a book about a book. It is based in the Pacific Northwest. The book is The Cabinet of Children.