Out Hunting

Dennis James Sweeney


I went out in the woods to find America and shot every tree with my pistol until it bled. I knelt and drank the blood. I washed my hair in it. Soon enough, my birddogs came running.

They didn’t recognize me. They grabbed me by the neck and dragged me back to my pickup.

My wife waited in the bed. She didn’t recognize me either, so she skinned me and left my organs in the tire-rutted meadow. She brought me home and put most of me in the freezer. The rest she ground into burgers and fed to my children that night.

Many have died for our freedom, I told them from inside. The peristalsis heard me: It came in cool, even waves. I could tell that my children were going to grow up to be good children. And that when my dogs got old—I wish them no violence but mercy—the kids would do what they had to do.