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A Trapper's True Story
I once was a trapper
and where I made footsteps
I echoed a shadow of blood.
I gripped every season with
my bare hands and did what I
had to do, sometimes more,
though I knew I would die
and lie naked underground,
my skin like every winter's ice.
One day, as I checked my
lines, I walked into a clearing
where morning unveiled amazing
pure light. I knew myself more
than alive, and that very instant
I saw the mother fox in my trap.
She'd been nursing her kits, four
of them, while my jagged vice
cut into her flesh to the bone;
she'd been crazy with fear and pain,
I could tell, for there was much
blood splattered all around.
And as I walked toward the vixen,
she raised her head to watch me
come through the clearing. And she
gently picked up each one of her
young by the neck, one at a time,
and lay it close to her breath
and licked her milk from its face,
and snapped its neck. She did that
to all four before I could reach her.
And as she watched me over her
newly born, over her dead she had
saved from my hands, I knew
I would never trap again. And I
never have, though I killed her
with one bullet as she lay back
waiting to die. I buried the mother
and her fur, and tonight, in the
warming nighttime of spring I wonder
if ever I'll sleep until morning again.
James Strecker is the author or editor of fourteen books,
including Black on
jazz and Pas de Vingt on ballet, both with artist Harold
Town. Widely
published as a poet, freelance writer and photographer, he is
also Professor of
English at Sheridan College, an Intensive Journal Consultant,
a publisher, a
graphoanalyst, and recipient of the Hamilton Arts Awards for 1
992. A
Trapper's True Story is taken from Strecker's collection,
Echosystem, which
was published in 1993 by Mini Mocho Press (Jackson Station,
P.O. Box
57424, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, L8P 4X2)

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This is Chelsea one of my beautiful cats!
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