Grandpa’s going hunting

Even at my smallest I would not fit in such a tiny hide, but he 

sang his version of the song to me and meant every word:

bye baby bunting / pa-paw’s going hunting / I’m off 

to catch a rabbit skin / to wrap our little Katey in 

– a spindly pine child barely taller than meadow grass, 

given fresh, fluffed squirrels’ tails for luck. I would pull

the fur through the space between my fingers, examine blood-

sealed stub, imagining a life in the branches of trees while grandma 

fried the meat for our supper. My mother branded it cruelty, 

but he wanted me to see the sum of a life and death on earth 

wasn’t bought in the store. If grandpa came back with an empty 

truck during deer season, I felt his disappointment – never done 

for sport, nor was it really survival anymore, but a sewn-in instinct

to be more than just a hand flipping pages on a calendar. The kill

was born of the same force guiding the growth in his garden: the gift 

of tomatoes, green beans, jars lining our basement shelves each winter.

Kate Garrett is the editor of Three Drops from a Cauldron, Picaroon Poetry, and Bonnie's Crew. Her own poetry is widely published - most recently or forthcoming in Ghost City Review, Moonchild Magazine, RiggwelterRhythm & Bones, and formercactus, among others - and has been nominated for Best of the Net and a Pushcart Prize, and longlisted for a Saboteur Award. She is the author of several chapbooks, most recently Land and Sea and Turning (CWP Collective Press, 2018) and Losing interest in the sound of petrichor (Black Light Engine Room, 2018). Born in rural southern Ohio, Kate moved to England in 1999, where she still lives in Sheffield with her husband, five children, and a sleepy cat.