After Quail Hunting

In this picture, a .410’s in my hand,
pointing skyward. I’m wearing
camouflage. I’m eight years old.
In my left hand, I’m holding
a couple of quail that we shot
in a field behind our single-wide—
the same trailer where I once locked
myself in one of the bedroom closets
and was too afraid to call out for help
so I just struggled with the door
until my uncle finally heard the noise.
He came in from where he was sitting
in the den watching the Saints game on TV
and pulled the door open to let me out.

I remember how incredibly sad he looked
that I hadn’t asked for help or anything,
how instead I’d just kept pushing
on that cheap, brown wooden door
over and over and over as if it might
open on its own and let me go free.

And I can still remember those quail.
How we flushed them from the weeds
and how they rose up into the sky
like steam coming off a stack of dishes
sitting in the drainboard, freshly washed
and waiting overnight in the dark
for someone to come along and put
them away where they belonged.

David Armand was born and raised in Louisiana. He currently teaches at Southeastern Louisiana University, where he also serves as associate editor for Louisiana Literature Press. He has published three novels, a poetry chapbook, and a memoir. David lives with his wife and two children and is working on his sixth book.

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