"Hunting Season" was in part inspired by Thomas Wyatt's poem "Whoso List to Hunt," an allegorical tale of a white doe whose diamond necklace bears the warning: "Noli me tangere, for Caesar's I am / wild for to hold, though I seem tame." Using the allusion in the ninth line, I tried to tell the same story but with a more violent outcome, a sort of inexorable ending that leaves you rattled and quiet. With artists like Sufjan Stevens and Sibylle Baier, I wanted the accompanying playlist to capture this unobstructed mournfulness, this sense of too little, too late.

Hunting Season

There's a skinny boy in tall grass. A rifle crack in dull dusk.
The bounds of the trees pull back, wary of bare shoulder blades
and bug-bitten rib cage—of what harshness they may contain.
Night-sounds thrum and hiss their caution. The silhouette
stumbles on, lungs raw from rabbit chase. Face tilted back,
illiterate to stars. A little drunk off moonshine and bloodrage.

In the woods, there's a white doe hidden beneath laurel shade.
The brambles misconstrue those ancestral words carved
into diamond breastplate: Noli me tangere. Split-hooves
shuffle: cannot hide, cannot escape. Eyes cut wide with
flashlight blade. Leather boots crunch over littered glass,
cigarette ash. Dog teeth gnash. Rifle crack. Once, then

Twice. There's a mess of animal in the bluestem and wild rye.
A cluster of broken blood vessels below the collarbone,
a nick on the inner thigh—flesh wounds never seen,
never acknowledged. The grass will hold the gore instead.
Only the head, still unsullied white, a piece for the wall.
Nailed between other braggish bounties,
kept among other quiet objects.

Kate Meadows is currently studying English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Driven by a keen interest in contemporary southern literature, she serves as an editorial intern for Algonquin Books and has poetry forthcoming in Cellar Door. She was born in Warner Robins, Georgia, and draws many of the minute atmospheric details of her writing from a childhood surrounded by switchgrass and cicadas.