Lowell Mick White The 2River View, 9.2 (Winter 2005)
Cock Pheasant

I was sixty yards past the bird
by the time I stopped.
When I walked back from the car

he was warm and limp.
I gathered him in my arms,
feeling guilty, not wanting to be seen.

But traffic was light.
No one caught me
clutching the dead out-of-season

pheasant. At home I cleaned the bird,
threw his guts in the trash
where that night

they were pulled out,
by fearful striped feral cats

who lurk in
storm drains across the street.
I aged the bird

three days in the refrigerator,
then plucked him,
braised him

in a Dutch oven with leeks,
marsala, garlic, and mushrooms.
I drank a bottle of Argentine merlot.

The cock pheasant and I became one.
Our feathers went into a plastic
bag. I later tied

soft-hackled wet flies with them,
with my iridescent covert feathers.
Two years later on a drizzly

midday north of Yellowstone, I
caught a cutthroat trout on one of
those flies, and released it.

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