Antlers

by Russell Evatt

I found a head in the dirt, eyes open,
covered in sand.  But no flies
and no blood.  I should say it was winter,
and this the reason why
there were no flies.  But not the reason
for no blood.  I knelt beside it
and the eye would not look at me.
I wiped the dirt away but the eye would
look at nothing.  We were surrounded
by trees and grass but it felt like
we were in a field, the bare branches
letting enough sun through to make it feel
this way, like a field.  Maybe this farmer
grows heads, and I laughed a little
but it was an empty sound, the sound
of a plowed field at midnight, or
the felling of a dead tree in a high wind.
Not silent but empty, the same as
this head with no blood.  The same as
every hunter dressed in the dead-
grey of the land.  I didn’t have the courage
to abandon the head so I carried it with me
to the house.  I worked for hours
with the shovel in the frozen garden
digging a hole for it.  In a few months
it will be summer, the ground soft,
the fields full of wind and graceful
wheat.  Each stalk a person, nodding off
to sleep yet still standing, as if forced,
as if before Gabriel.  Each person
the chaff from the beginning of the Psalms
wherein it is said the way of the ungodly
shall perish.  The wheat swaying
in the direction of something suddenly
deemed important then something else,
something other.  And the sound of the field
a soft calling that knows no name but yours.