where men hunt



sometimes the woods echo with the birdsong of ballistics, and sometimes women wade swollen into murky swamps cold to the toes, and sometimes men roar like wounded animals beneath a blood moon so tender-red it seems about to pop, and sometimes old boys with withered minds awaken in darkness, startled by their own stink, to find themselves bent and broken without weapon, the sweet taste of yesteryear faint on their lips, unable to answer the self-inflicted questions of their kind—what of leather jackets? what of motorcycles? what of flames? and ambulance goodbyes? and dying young with their name still fresh in a woman?—and sometimes husbands beat their wives to bed, and sometimes husbands beat their wives to death, and sometimes husbands beat it for little muddy communes in the woods, where around the watering hole they grunt and snort and slap each other on the back, toasting to stained-glass memories of oblivion, before stumbling bow-legged to piss their names in the dirt, and sometimes an empty marriage bed isn’t a metaphor for a broken home, and sometimes go forth and multiply means divide and conquer, and sometimes the hunt means more than the kill, for among the pines and autumn refuse, hunched stalking through the muck and filth of the woods, these men gaze into the night as if remembering how to bark like a double-barrel shotgun, to scream like a beast injured by the bear trap of the world, growing louder and louder, until the air is cacophonous with their spring-loaded anguish and the marsh birds take flight and the orange dawn finds them bloodied and bruised, a whole pack with black eyes and broken noses, emerging confused one by one from the woods, as if some lycanthropic spell were to blame for how they act as men.








Surprise me...


portrait of the chimera at a press conference




and gentlemen

i am the byproduct

of mass production

my parents started

with a slug

of alcohol

and said no

to seat belts

i am gak

and goop

and mud

in a suit

if i had a flair for the dramatic

i’d say something

like flashbulbs

lit the night

when they yanked me

from the cave

in which i rested

men with rope

and cameras

rushing forward

in the rain

dark broth


with each

shake of my serpent

-headed tail—

but i lack

the attention

to span such thoughts

and too often

the realization strikes

like the sharp tilt

of sobriety after hitting

an animal

instinct takes over

the jaw moves

to its instructions

and i am attacking

myself in a mirror poking

and prodding the sad


around my sides

and thighs

the tiger stripe

stretch marks

clinging to me for dear life

dear god

if time

has a way of healing

wounds how much

must scar

before i am

something else



dale j rappaneau jr is an American poet living in Bowdoinham, Maine, where he is pursuing a degree in creative writing from the University of Maine at Farmington. He is the forthcoming co-editor of The Sandy River Review, a Maine-based literary magazine overseen by Alice James Books.


Copyright belongs to the creator. .


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