You placed four perfectly crisp, golden-brown quail, still hot from the pan,
onto my plate.
We had shot them ourselves in a field in November.
I recall the dogs -- one flushing the birds from dun broom sedge while the other,
its tail raised in semaphore, pointed.
They rushed and paused, swapping places,
following the scents of small things that hide in grass, in autumn.
I watched the canine ballet, set to the drumming wings of the covey
rising into the cold sky. You aimed your gun,
leading just enough so that you found the bob-whites
and tumbled them out of their arcing flight.
The panting dogs brought them back to us. Now, as I lift a bird to my lips,
I taste the air and the gunpowder and the damp coats of dogs
and the report of your gun and your smile
and the field where I stood, admiring.
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There's a slightly different version of this on 6S, written in appreciation of a particularly memorable plate of food.