POETRY by Tessa Withorn

Two Hunter Poems
by Tessa Withorn

The Hunter and I Discuss Abortion

and the finer points of gun safety. He thinks you can never be too prepared in the event of
something backfiring, something blowing up in your face. I take precautions like lying to my
mother about irregular periods to be put on the pill. The hunter only wears condoms for anal. I
don’t care if it’s your body
, he says, I’m the one who will have to pay for either choice. Once in
the car, the hunter admits he may never have children. His mother looks back at me and says don’t
you have a say in the matter, dear?
I picture a baby in an orange onesie, teething on a chunk of
deer jerky. I don’t want anyone to inherit the hunter’s name, or the heirloom rifle. I’ll let the hunter
lay me on a blue tarp over the mattress in the trailer, insert a pistol, and pray that it backfires.

I Visit the Hunter in His Tree Stand

once or twice a month, running miles through the woods to get to him. I keep coming back
for the corn littered on the ground, because it reeks of deer urine. When I arrive I try to get
the hunter’s attention, but he’s twenty feet in the air, busy cleaning his rifle. He applies a
bit of lubricant to the brush and jams the cleaning rod into the barrel. I know he’ll be
absorbed for hours, so I clear some of the dried leaves from the ground and lie down. I
wake up to the hunter standing over me, stroking my fur and lifting up my tail. He unzips
his camouflage pants and the wind shifts, carrying a sharp odor. If I don’t leave now I’ll
never make it out of the woods. I follow my instinct over the barbed wire fence and land
on the road. From the other side, I imagine the hunter sitting at his computer in a dark
room, hands under the desk and eyes fixed, watching footage from the trail camera. My
figure, white—spectral, floating across the screen.

Tessa Withorn graduated from the University of Louisville with a BA in English. She currently lives in Bloomington, IN where she is a Master of Library Science candidate at Indiana University. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Rust + Moth, Sanctuary, and Maint Reqd zine.