Photography © Edward S. Gault
It was on the day
That I went with my father
And his colleagues to shoot blue rock
On our family’s farm.
He or someone hit a pigeon.
The bird was wounded, but still able to walk around;
My father asked me to pursue it,
With my b.b. gun and put it out of its misery.
So I tracked it down and took aim, which was easy
Because he wasn’t moving around too much.
I fired and he ran two feet or so
Into one of the sheds
Where there was a tractor.
I was pretty sure that I had hit him.
I made sure that he didn’t leave my sight
As I entered the shed and fired again.
The bird took off behind the wheel under the tractor.
I maneuvered in behind, spotted him, and fired.
It surprised me that he could go this long
With so much shot in him.
Finally, I finally cornered him
And lowered the barrel down to his head.
He raised his wing to his head.
Leaving nothing to chance, I fired and killed him.
The image of the pigeon shielding his head with his wing has not left me.
Edward S. Gault is a poet and fine art photographer. He lives at Mosaic Commons, a co-housing community in Berlin, Ma.