(Not) The Killing Type

I murdered a frog, once.

Flung a stone and spattered it to pieces.

Then wanted desperately to take it back, rewind time just a few moments.

Back before the other boys laughed and threw their stones, cajoled me to throw mine.

“Get him!” “Get him!”

I should have thrown wide, deliberately.

Or, better, I shouldn’t have picked up the stone.

Or, best, I shouldn’t have spent time with boys like those.


I murdered a bird, once.

Raised the rifle, shattered it to feathers

Then wondered, disbelieving what I had done.

As the other boys congratulated me.

“Great shot!” “Nice one!”

We were hunting squirrels, not songbirds.

And I wondered why I had done it.

And I aimed to miss the rest of day.


I killed a deer, once.


I missed more often.

As the other boys consoled me.

“Too bad. “Next time.”

I did not consciously miss them. (I did not aim to miss.)

I think my conscience missed them. (I might have aimed, amiss.)

And still remorse hunting for a purpose, for venison.


I killed a pastime.

Let it go, watched it drift.

Let my father believe I wasn’t interested.

Let him think, like the other boys, that I was too good for it, anymore.

“City boy.” “College boy.”

Every bit of that is true, of course.

But, mostly, I remember the frog and the bird.

And the truth is, I’m not the killing type.

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