Footfalls echo through one final covert,
one last flush glides safely from a lowered muzzle.
Go! You made it!
Watch out for hawks, coyotes,
the lethal swaths of farmers’ blades.
All good, until next year!
At sundown, light this season’s last pipe,
watch the haze drift across a winter prairie’s pinks and lavenders;
remember times when you were good,
times when the quarry was better.
Then from loops and pockets,
each into their own boxes:
71/2s, 8s, 6s and 4s.
Rods through barrels,
a drop of oil,
the touch of the rag;
worn steel and honest walnut
at attention in the cabinet.
Food in the bowl, feet to the fire,
and a toast to all kindred souls:
That we meet again
across the next two hundred-eighty-odd sunsets,
on another Opening Day.
More by Phil Yearout