The Hunter (An excerpt from "Valencia: Fresh Squeezed & Uncut") by Gideon Carlisle I am twelve years old hunting with my father walking in footprints of enormous boots; The Remington heavy on my shoulder, sways back and fourth awkward in youthful hands. We do not speak; we listen to the packing of snow beneath our feet to rust covered leaves defying Autumn winds and to the dull scrape of bone on bark. The buck, with ivory crown, hiding amongst softly swaying poplars eager to remove the felt of a youthful summer. â€œShoot himâ€ my father commands but I am scared I am young and the rifle too unsteady My father the rifle the buck. Felt hanging from antlers staining bone with blood. I fire a shot into the poplars a white tail trails off over cool powdered hills. We walk home my feet trying to keep pace with fatherâ€™s enormous stride. Snow begins to fall and I cannot make out his foot prints. I am alone in the woods with a useless rifle.