POETRY by Lynnell Edwards

Two Hunting Poems
by Lynnell Edwards

The Followers’ Prayer

We are not the hounds,
and we are not the quarry,
and we are not the One In Charge.
We are not the quail
flushed from a thicket of briers,
not the vultures overhead,
their black wings carving
circles against fierce blue,
not the three, white-tailed deer
bounding away from the path.
We are not the thorn tree,
nor the red bud piercing into bloom,
not the improbable geometry
of the fallen rock wall,
not the geese in formation.
We are not the sound of the horn,
not the crack of the whip.
We are not the sighting,
not the scent,
not the kill.

Blood Sport Sabbath

The hounds are wild.

One coon treed, its mate burrowed
in the brush pile and screaming, they claw
through dead branches, collapsed wire fencing,
briers, old lumber. They howl
their bloodsong, insensible
to the litany of sired names, the command
to Leave it! They find

purchase in a ringed tail,
drag the creature to the surface, tear
into meat and fur until the crack
of the huntsman’s pistol quiets

all but the wind breaking in the winter trees.
The dogs stand down, obedient
under the huntsman’s strange patter,
and scatter, snuffle the damp ground
for new quarry, the scent rising
in the warm afternoon. We follow

in a ragged line, uneasy
about the weather. We know
that the day should be colder, mercy
more certain, that there is no
getting right with this god.

Lynnell Edwards is the author of three full-length collections of poetry, most recently Covet (Red Hen Press, 2011) and the chapbook Kings of the Rock and Roll Hot Shop (Accents, 2014). She is associate professor of English at Spalding University and completed her Ph.D in rhetoric and composition at the University of Louisville.