Ethical Shots
by Russell Rowland

Brothers by our hunter’s orange caps
(but I a hiker, he the weaponed one),
we meet and greet on a carriage road.

He points the barrel away from me,
I push deeper in my pocket a kerchief
white as the tail of a white-tailed doe.

He has had no chance at the “ethical
shot”—by which he explains is meant
a shot at what’s unmistakably a deer.

A shot against the backdrop of a hill,
not a clearing full of wood-stove haze;
a shot that will not cripple, rather kill.

I feel guided into more ethical ways
to let the girlfriend I’m tired of down,
inform my neighbor that his politics

suck, word multitudinous missives of
complaint, deal with a former relative
(the one who doesn’t deserve to live).

Copyright 2024 by Red River Review. First Rights Reserved. All other rights revert to the authors.
No work may be reproduced or republished without the express written consent of the author.