Night Hunt
after Paolo Uccello’s “Caccia notturna”
The silken-haired dogs. The twining vines.
Bells at the wrist, our falcons’ eagerness—
What thrills me about us is the metal of our thrust,
Our speed. On horseback, accompanied by trumpets,
Under a bloodless moon, a moon blanched of humanity,
We race as though our hearts were our targets,
Quivering before us in a far-off ravine.
When I grip my bow full of splinters and take aim
I want to be surprised by something
Sudden as Morpho butterflies
Spiraling out into incredible distance
Like a tongue of inaccessible summer,
Then I remember my master, his training, that old grove
Beyond the pond where he first tutored me                             
In the art of venery, till I came to see
How to eat the face of everything we kill
Is almost an act of love.
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