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Dallas Lee

Dallas Lee

Dallas Lee is a former writer/editor with The Associated Press and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and author of The Cotton Patch Evidence: The Story of Clarence Jordan and the Koinonia Farm Experiment (Harper & Row, 1971). His poems have appeared in Connotation Press and his essays in Like the Dew: A Journal of Southern Culture and Politics.

Wild Things That Die For A Boy's Sins

God, the temptation was strong to shoot
     just for shooting's sake.
The small explosions. The ripping of foliage,
     beer cans, Jesus Saves signs,
animal flesh. Birds, squirrels, cottontails left
     rotting in the sun,
turtles sinking alive and ruined to the bottom
     of clear-running water.

Once I shot straight up into a large nest, just to see
     if any living thing was home.

My cousin and I came upon a skunk, a nocturnal
creature crossing a clearing in daylight, maybe
lost, maybe young and trusting our innocence.
We smelled only cedar and gunpowder, firing
     our .22s into its vivid body.

Back at the cabin, we listened and watched
our fathers talk and laugh, cleaning shotguns
     and lever-action .30-30s.
They would rise early in the cold to hunt deer,
     wild hogs and turkey.

At home, what they killed would be our supper.
We'd hold their rough hands while they offered
      thanks for Earth's bounty.

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