A Reading of “Old Hunter” by Katrina Hays

Old Hunter

by Katrina Hays


Stick at a jaunty angle,
the Labrador retriever hobbles
toward the river,
water still the Siren
that calls him home.

In his youth he could rocket
fifteen feet from land to liquid,
river’s edge bypassed by desire,
the shot and release
job and joy both.

In golden autumns,
smoke acrid in the air,
he smashed through currents,
legs as pistons, eyes fixed
on his Zion of waterfowl.

Straining to reach his prize
he was ferocious in his need,
work the reward,
retrieval and your hand
his dream in the nights.

Now, thick with age,
grayed and blind,
he staggers to slide
into the cool embrace
of his past.

Katrina’s writing has appeared in Apalachee Review, Bellingham Review, Crab Creek Review, The Hollins Critic, and Plainsongs, with writing forthcoming in Tahoma Literary Review. She is on the guest faculty of the Rainier Writing Workshop, where she received an MFA. She lives in Bend, Oregon.

Goose Hunt, original acrylic on board, 27 x 36 inches, by Chet Reneson.