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The Hunt

Jacob Pritchett

When we were younger

and the twilights lasted longer

and the shadows of the trees

became beasts and spirits,


a farm house was our kingdom:

our ward against the demons,

stretching across rolling fields

lined by pines, dark warriors.


Some nights smelled of fires.

We gazed upon the embers;

the shadows retreated to the forest

and stared eyeless, envious.


Others smelled like carnage,

like the night you came of age.

You brought in your first kill,

your face stained red, innocent.


Blood washed away in the river

on summer days hot as a fever.

Cleanse the blood from your face.

I’ll cleanse the mud from mine.


Those nights were enchanting

as we charged the darkness, sprinting

to the safety of the fire

at the bottom of the hill.


But those nights were haunted.

In the darkness we were hunted

by something ancient stretching

across the darkened field.

Wait and watch a doe,

the night waits and watches you.

Hold your trigger before the sun

goes down, while all is quiet.


Hold still.


The doe can hear you moving

but the night is coming, sweeping:

a scythe across grain from

a field forsaken by daylight.


Fire, light the fire, escape the—

—darkness is an ancient spirit

warded off by fire—

Don’t breathe or the doe will hear you.

Don’t run or the unknown will find you.

Don’t keep me waiting.


Fire. 

Fall, 2018 Issue