By the time the game warden came
to add it to his tally, I’d finished butchering
the untagged gut-shot buck, all afternoon
bent over a picnic table heaped

with meat: flesh pared from bone,
trimmed of tallow, cleaned of hair & bloodclot,
ground or sliced & wrapped in glossy paper.
My shadow faded as the clear sky went white.

That night as I linger nude before
the bathroom mirror, my tired eyes
keep practicing their brand-new knack,
sizing up muscle for the proper cut.

A funny thing, to see one’s own corpse
so definitively organized, & thus absorbed,
to ignore the cost of such a sacrifice—
that dead metaphor. I stand slowly

soaping myself in the shower, my mind
a glorious blank, enjoying the way
my back & shoulders relax, paying
no heed to the growing tautness

in my groin. But finally of course
the cock demands its quitrent.
With an absent-minded toe
I push the milky deposit toward the drain.



  1. angie · May 8, 2007

    Interesting. Vulnerable. I love this line: “My shadow faded as the clear sky went white.”

  2. Dave Bonta · May 8, 2007

    Thanks. This isn’t autobiographical, FWIW.

  3. angie · May 8, 2007


    Since I both embarrass easily and have a light tolerance for viscera, I flipped right by this one after I read it — but was drawn back for other reasons. It’s surprisingly sensitive beneath its muscular/masculine exterior. I think it’s great.

  4. Dave Bonta · May 8, 2007

    I’m glad, because I admit I did hesitate over the “publish” button for this one.

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