Our neighbors are hunting the doves
that have been safely sitting
on our fences and electric lines for months,
so tame we could nearly touch them.
Now they vanish when they see us pass the windows
and fly off in bursts when we open the doors.
On our walk, we come across one that has been injured,
a gray and brown ruffle of warmth that lies stunned.
From its side, it watches us with one round eye.
Then it flutters until it rights itself.
Well enough to stay ahead of our concern,
it is just hurt enough to starve.
The season will begin and end the same way.
The guns sound near us all morning,
then the rush of wings like souls releasing.
The hunters will shoot until they get to fifteen.
Our dogs will bark their fool heads off at the noise,
though it means nothing to them;
they keep trusting us.
Chera Hammons is a graduate of the MFA program at Goddard College. Her work has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Rattle, Stoneboat, THRUSH, Tupelo Quarterly, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and elsewhere. Her chapbook Amaranthine Hour received the 2012 Jacar Press Chapbook Award. Books include Recycled Explosions (Ink Brush Press) and The Traveler’s Guide to Bomb City (Purple Flag Press). She serves on the editorial board of poetry journal One and lives in Amarillo, Texas, with her husband, three cats, four horses, two dogs, and a rabbit.