Hunting Season

Hunting Season
I gather elderberries
by the river.
Last year, these purple-black fruits rotted
on my counter – I
was in the ER, clenched
with pain and cold
under ten blankets and by the time
they opened me
there was a liter of blood to take,
one slender branch
and the fertilized egg
that had split it open.

came later,
after hours waiting
for diagnosis, refusing morphine
while the nurses rolled their eyes,
after Sarah called my parents, after
they lifted me onto the operating table
and I told myself don’t look, you’ll
wake up from this , you
walked in after I woke up.

you drove me home at three am
and slept beside me,
and I didn’t tell you
that when I lay on my side, I
could feel my insides slide into a hollow
that was not there before.
Yes, you cooked me soup
and stayed
that first day,
tell me

where you went after that
and never fully returned,
it was no mistake
when I met you and wrote
the teeth of the lion
on the throat of the deer, I knew you
from the start, if

you have forgotten
what we harvested, here
are the scars
that can be seen,
I will show you again
the path of the knife.