Jennifer’s husband loads the pistol and hands it to her. We might need it to scare away a bear on our afternoon walk near their backwoods hunting camp. Our I-Phones die near the hammock. Nothing breaks the stillness . . . not winter birdsong, a chattering squirrel, or a stick- snapping, foraging she-bear. Lost in time we chat, eyeing the sandy trails for fresh animal tracks. Only deer and turkeys. When we return to the camp the men are gone.
We set about tonight’s dinner - soaking kale in the sink, peeling potatoes, breading family- caught grouper and boiling heads-on Gulf shrimp the size of an FSU lineman’s middle finger. The men return hungry. After dinner, they light the fire pit. Scotch-fueled talk turns to the highs of high school and old Atlantic coast surfing buddies lost to car wrecks, cirrhosis and ‘Nam. A breathtaking darkness falls under the starry sky. We make our way to iron beds with fresh linen, a tiny scalloped mouse hole beneath my pillowcase.
winter drought . . .
the deepest V
of a doe’s track
Writer's Note: Sopchoppy, Florida: Population 460