Lantern Review {Community Voices}

Issue 3 | Summer 2011

Pos L. Moua

Excerpt: The Whitetails

Light had yet to make lines
of death and desire visible
among the sky, when a young Hmong hunter trailed
into a patch of young pines; he wandered as if
he had sullenly forgotten that he was walking,
his .22 scoped rifle in hand, chambered and
ready for tree squirrels …

… Then the drumming of his organs halted when he saw
in the evaporating dawn three lonely, timid figures.
A pair of gesturing antlers pointing
into heaven, their long ears flapping
away gnats, their heads slowly nodding—

three of them—a tiny fawn, its mother, and father—
approached the hunter as if to study him; it was like a long
ensuing stare between two people of a
dividing country—and the young hunter held up
his rifle, not to shoot but
to capture through the scope the sight
that is like a red painting
dancing in the wind on a snowy field,
and they flew back into the wild and he

who was lonely once again sat down
on the ground that was then already wet,
the ground that was dust.