Gentle Hands Red With Meaning

A hunter’s eye, that sees nothing and misses everything but fear: he sees green, hears water, smells footprints. Beaten by the sun griddling off the concrete. He is out of his time, once a slave, once an owner of slaves. Reeks of grave earth and urine, wolf hair and adonis; beneath the heavy coat a belt of coral pinches at the hard flesh of his belly. Borrowed nipples heavy with milk, he longs for empire builders.

He kills by daylight, clears a wide circle around the trash and train-swept rumble of his domus, steel and leather. The noise and metal of the trains frustrate and bore him, but there are olive trees growing beyond the fence, and that is familiar. Olive trees and sea air: he remembers stories learned soldiering of a wager between gods.

Nights he is a wild thing, one with raccoons and coyotes, feral cats, drunkards. Brings deer down in the middle of the high road and leaves an accusatory finger of entrails pointed straight at the heart of downtown: I am Caesar’s, no one else may touch me.