by Dan Burns

Boots crunch over stalks, irons in hand,
father leading son and pulling dog
into a clearing known for life of another sort.

Skin pale and stretched, covered with goose bumps.
Eyes dry but searching for the slightest glint of feather
across the whitewashed backdrop of morning sky.

Father raises his iron and shoots at the ghost of a bird.
The percussion reverberates musically, endlessly,
and we wait and hope as our stomachs sing their own chorus.

A single bird emerges as if from nowhere,
a fluttering so sweet, grace beyond imagination.
We track its path, father and son and dog. We track its path.

Father raises his iron once more, leading the pheasant into the ether.
He stops, distracted. We watch and listen as the pheasant turns into a speck,
diminished, and we are left staring at the blank palette of life.



Dan Burns is the author of the story collection, No Turning Back, and the novel, Recalled to Life. In addition to writing novels, short stories, and poetry, he also writes screenplays for the big screen. His forthcoming novel, A Fine Line, is a mystery set in his hometown of Chicago.