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).

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