Cathexis Northwest Press

© 2018 

CASUALTIES

The deer in the woods is a buck.

In the woods at dusk, nothing is visible. 

The woods are a sometimes father.

At times, a father can become invisible.

But the spiced smell of his Copenhagen longcut

 always dribbles over the balcony railings, 

whenever he’s decided he’s on the hunt, 

whenever deer gather around the wicker furniture 

spread across the lawn like fortifications—

                                          defensive emplacements. 

 

The daughter 

darts across porches

breathless— 

silently shooing the deer  

before they become casualty—   

before the father,  

who wants to be left alone, 

begins the killing of things  

to end his loneliness,   

or rather—  

to release the solitary feeling of death

which sometimes finds him 

on the balcony, at dusk   

when the flask has gone empty in his hand. 

Aaron Graham hails from Glenrock, Wyoming, population 1159, which boasts seven bars, six churches, a single 4-way stop sign and no stoplights. He served as the assistant editor for the Squaw Valley Review, is an alumnus of Squaw Valley Writers Workshop and The Ashbury Home School (Hudson), and was recently the "Cecilia Baker Memorial Visiting Scholar" for the 2016 Seaside Writer's Conference. Aaron is a veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq where he served with The Marine Corps' Human Intelligence and Counterterrorism Task Force Middle East as an analyst and linguist. Aaron is currently ABD for his PhD at Emory University and serves as a Lecturer of English at Kennesaw State University.