“Open Wound”

by Gerald Arthur Moore

Yellowing apples underneath low branches
fermenting; attracting deer and honeybees,
further down the clear-cut they’re burning;
turning orchards to floodplains,
smoking stumps, slow to disintegrate,
hold their heat for days.

In slow pirouettes of smoke – a mule deer.
Something wrong, the way she shuffles
awkward – unnatural.

Circling the cut, inside
shadowed treeline, careful outstep
creeping – I’m quiet. Upwind, but that fire
is going to cancel out my scent.
Drift deeper, then arc back out to the edge
of my imaginary clover leaf, slowly emerge,
keep the morning sun in her eyes.
That’s when I see it.

Just above her wet cambered shoulder –
a concave exit wound like a cereal bowl;
writhing worms periodically fall, tapping
leaf litter like heavy raindrops. The smoke,
keeping cluster flies at bay, meat bees
from feasting. Maggots, at least
are cleaning this old gunshot.
She’s near the end.

Slowly lifts her head when she hears;
tired glass eyes; I understand.
and curse the motherfuckers
who left us like this.