Prayer For A Hunter by Zack Martin

“Forming a rehearsed circle around the field
they’d watch for the signal,
and crunch their way tighter and tighter
waiting for whatever to fly.”

Prayer For A Hunter by Zack Martin

The crunching was odd.
After the afternoon in the field, it was odder not to hear it
beneath my feet.

Arriving there before the morning,
a procession of wrinkled faces grinned from the cold
and crunched thoughtfully over fallow dust. They moved, chins to chest
heaving breath-plumes downward into the dawn,
warming and waking the soil. Their cold palms griped the mid-section of guns,
slung over shoulders.

Forming a rehearsed circle around the field
they’d watch for the signal,
and crunch their way tighter and tighter
waiting for whatever to fly.

Then, just as the field came to life,
breathes escaping towards heaven,
Bang!

Each time I’d listen,
trying to hear the moment just before the bang.
Or, as there were so many bangs, just the first.
After the afternoon, all the bangs banged as one.

It was my job to carry them,
still warm and heavy
back home.

Some time later, I visited one of them in a hospital,
where all the beeps beeped as one.
I watched him there lying on a bare shoulder
palms empty and aching for the cold.
His breath was invisible.

I stretched, warmed up my arms
and listened for the crunch, the bang.

In the field
as rehearsed,
We’d lay them on their side
and recite a prayer.

Zack lives in Silicon Valley where he works as an analyst for a tech startup. He writes poems inspired by his daily life in the tech bubble, prior travels, and thoughts gathered on his lunch break. His poems have appeared in several publications and will be included in forthcoming issues of Black Fox Literary Magazine, Haunted Waters Press, Rise Up Review, Silver Needle Press, and Funicular Magazine. He was also a finalist in the 2017 Los Gatos Irish Writers’ Festival Poetry Competition.

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