Samuel Piccone

Black Velvet
               ​after Andrew Wyeth

To the deer in the jacklit valley, it’s too late.
I’m squeezing this trigger and it feels normal.
Our time together ends so quick. An embrace
like any other. My new bride tells me I hold her the same,
frozen in the hollow of a hunter’s sight,
the reticle an easy despair
limped around her neck like a black ribbon.

The difference between love and possession is one
I never understood, an instinct that seemed better
left uncontrolled. A day comes when two creatures find
themselves empty-clipped or bedded down for winter,
acres of muskweed frontier between them
rich with mud and starving. What clearer sign
could there be it’s time to pack it in?

Doesn’t mean I’m not torn. Sometimes, I want you
to look up from the salt lick, see my boots
white with juice from trampled juniper and run.
My aim is everywhere but my eye. I can’t help myself—​​
your life is all I have to be certain of mine.
Never forget that. I’m waiting for the right moment.
Sightline is everything. Be still. Don’t.

Samuel Piccone is the author of Pupawhich was Editors’ Choice in the 2017 Rick Campbell Chapbook Prize with Anhinga Press (forthcoming 2018). His work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications including The Southeast Review, Passages North, Southern Indiana Review, and Zócalo Public Square. He received an MFA in poetry from North Carolina State University and serves on the poetry staff at Raleigh ReviewCurrently, he resides and teaches in Nevada.