Pheasant hunt

Some Sacrifice

In summer he struts for his harem of hens.
The birds bow oriental in gray crumbled clay
and pick through the cool buffet corn rows.

He spreads silken plumage in three o’clock sun
and snatches the tokens of next year’s plant life
from late autumn soil till his craw bulges gold.

At last comes the priest, and the prince is pursued,
down behind curtains of scalloped corn leaves.
A spirit arises to release them together—priest
and laughing prince—in the pop of an instant.

Children wear the tail feathers in their hair.
An old woman tries a bite of what launched
from the cool cultivation to lamp-lit communion.



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