I dream of two plucked ducks.
I see them at the bottom of a large garbage can
in the dirty restaurant kitchen.
I can tell they’ve been dipped in boiled water
I don’t know why, but I cry.
They still breathe slowly
and their eyes beseech.
I run to the fat, cigar smoking, hairy, sweating son of a bitch of a chef
and say why you do this? Why?
He says shut the fuck up, and punches me hard.
I stumble back to the ducks.
Lifting them out gingerly, I feel their lives ebb out.
I take them through the snow to the creek out back.
I break the ice and let them go in the cold flow.
Once again, I cry
and wipe the tears, mixed with blood.
Fished with my Dad and brother, as a kid. Not a dream.
I was the lucky one, who caught the first one.
There was the thrill of the bite, the bending and writhing rod,
my Dad reaching down with the net.
You got a big one!
What to do now? Take the hook out. What’s the matter?
Here, I’ll give you a glove, you ninny.
Hold it fast, and work the hook out.
It had swallowed the hook.
Just hold on tight, and pull!
Scared shitless. The struggle. The eyes. The guts came out.
I cried then too, and ran back to the car.
Ridiculed. Mister Sensitivity. Only a fish, but we didn’t need it.
Years later, married.
I was expected to go partridge hunting
With some dull cousin on my wife’s side.
We crept through the bush
Amid his admonishments to keep the noise down.
From behind, I heard his hoarse whisper.
He had spied a winter rabbit.
I did not know.
His shotgun went off six inches from my ear.
The rabbit was blown to hell, not even good for meat.
I am still half deaf in that ear.
Lee Dunn has been writing since the age of 18, but found that work got in the way for the ensuing 48 years. In his home town of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, he reveled in his independence at an early age, and spent as much time as he could exploring the city’s Arts scene. He was introduced to poetry and prose by the works of two literary giants, namely J.R.R. Tolkien and J.W. Lennon and thence fell in love with the written word. His work includes poetry, short fiction, and personal essays, and ranges in theme from the surreal to the horrific, nostalgic, and themes on the human condition. He has been published on Spillwords.com, The Dark Poets Club, Journal of Undiscovered Poets, Crepe & Penn Literary magazine, and the Shelburne Free Press.