by Norvin Dickerson

On YouTube
Canadian snipers shoot Taliban

barely visible behind craggy
rocks.  Their bodies launch, spin.
Wow! Eh! exclaims

the spotter. Only creatures I ever killed
were squirrels.

When the frustrations of studying
got to me, I left the house for a bank
overlooking oak trees. They were there

sneaks hiding on the other side
of limbs. I sat down, a slight upward
angle. Might have been ashamed
I used a .410 shotgun instead
of a .22 rifle. I wasn’t though. Arlevia,
our cook, could get the buckshot out.

She wanted them. Quiet as the ground,
I waited them out, for their fear
to subside and them to skitter.

One posed on top of a limb
and I squeezed off a shot.
Fell to the ground

a soft thud. I retrieved each
one and the waiting game began
again. Did they mock me? On the way home

I felt the warmth of their bodies
in the back sack of my hunting jacket
staining the canvas, waiting for Arlevia’s

corn, okra, flour, tomatoes and potatoes
to bring their flavor to life.

Norvin Dickerson is a native of Monroe, North Carolina, who practiced law in Charlotte before retiring to Black Mountain, North Carolina. He began writing poetry ten years ago but has only recently begun submitting poems. His poems have been published in Rapid River, where he won a poetry contest, and his poem on Vincent Van Gogh is to be published in Main Street Rag.

About Squirrels—In Cathy Smith Bowers' Great Smokies class this spring, several classmates wrote about squirrels: how pesky they were raiding birdfeeders. It brought back memories of hunting squirrels as a boy. The poem begins with a war scene. As a veteran, I am ambivalent about war. One of my other poems in the class was about waging war with unmanned drones in Afghanistan. I titled my chapbook for Cathy's class “Target Practice.” I also am ambivalent about killing animals even when their meat is used for food.