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"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.
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.