Hunters and gatherers

There is always something dead at my neighbours’: a doe’s hide crumpled as an old coat in long grass, antlered heads sunbaking on the lean-to roof. He brings me soft parcels of sika, sambar, red stag, goat. The last time I went there, I took fresh-dug potatoes, blackberries found tucked into the brow of the hill just below the bushline, a sugar sack, dripping, of water-cress yanked from the drain where it pools. There was a mound of guts in the grass, red skin glossy in sun. Stench rose up like a dark balloon. I circumvented it as best I could, trod a track through bone pocked earth  to his den. That night, butterflying chicken, a hawk framed in my window swooped fast as his finger on the trigger.