Why is it I feel shame
for small things long ago?
Things I have not even done?
I stumbled on a neighbor
in the woods, saw the blood
upon the moss and heard a
strangeness in his voice.
I knew at once he had
shot a deer out of season,
the carcass barely dead
somewhere close
in the under brush.
He sat on his tractor,
gripping the wheel and stared
at the gun in my hands.
“Seen any partridge?” he asked,
and I felt the ice in his eyes.
“Not yet,” I said, and turned
toward the abandoned farm,
almost ran down the path
through the fragrant fir
and birches. And still,
after all this time, the man
long dead in his grave,
those eyes burn after me.

© 2011