"Archings"  Copyright 2000 Dancing Bear


Number of hunters who have had their cremated remains
loaded into a shotgun shell and shot at an animal: 40

                            Harper's Index, November 1993

Some depart in wooden boats.
Others exit in a blast of flame,
leaving behind a small ash heap
and final request:
    Bury these in my favorite garden
        Scatter me over a body of water
            Toss me to the winds
Only the sporting or the very inventive ask us
to stuff their cinders into shotgun shells
and take them hunting.
I try to understand this impulse--
I'd sooner aim them
at a clay skeet arcing overhead,
give the deceased a chance
to finally reach a target.
I try to fathom who would wish their remains
blasted into the flesh of some deer or duck--
people who enjoy hunting
not for sport but like a chicken slaughterer
channeling his murderous desires into food.
Or people unaware of their heart's whisper:
"If you must die, then at least
bring down another creature with you."
Maybe this is getting too complicated...
Maybe getting shot into an animal
is simply how these bizarre requesters
wish to say good-bye, merging
with a world they love and leave behind.

Copyright 2000  Joel Katz
All Rights Reserved

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