Sunday, December 16, 2012

Wild Game Potluck, December 15th

Wild Game Potluck Supper, December 15th

Last night I ate bear meat
and venison, wild pig and turkey,
drank moonshine made of peaches,
sipped oysters hauled from the Rappahannock River
in brown gunnysacks.  Last night, I watched the smile
of a slim crescent moon chase across the clouds
at twilight as I stood in the shadow of Big House
and Little House Mountains.

Last night I listened to hunting stories
told in soft Shenandoah accents
by men with long white beards,
gray ponytails, camo hats and jackets,
buck knives and cell phones hanging
from their belts.  Last night I watched
for signs of belligerence and drunkenness,
bruised women, Confederate flag belt buckles
and backs turned on me, the outsider:
Indian, dyke, townie.  But all that happened

was Hippie's gentle offer, a Dixie cup
of his best shine, his anxious hovering
to see my reaction, his beam of quiet pride
when it went down smooth as smooth
and I asked for more.  Last night Calvin
snatched pieces of pork and venison
off the hot grill, held them on a paper towel
for me to pick from, and I ate like family
right out of his hand.  Last night Nettie confided


about her fibro and thin blood, how
her body feels covered in bruises,
how sometimes only a sip or two from
Calvin's Mason jar lets her sleep a few hours.
Last night I watched a young woman lean up
against her lover, put her white hand
on his black arm, saw nothing but love
in the faces of her extended family all around.

Last night inside the Kerr's Creek Volunteer Firehouse
I sat at the long white tables, bowed my head
and listened to a burly guy in a black motorcycle vest
give thanks for community hunting luck,
for tables groaning with shared casseroles,
ask for a blessing on the young children and teachers
murdered in an elementary school up North.
We ask this in Jesus's name, he said;
my Jewish lover and I sat side by side
and said Amen.

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