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When my dad came home
he was not my father, but a king an emperor
he had not a gun but a scepter in his hand.
It had the power to start or stop
my adulthood.

He said, "I'm home."
We were in the woods out back.
I had spent my whole life
looking forward to this,
I would spend the rest
dreading it.
Then suddenly
out of the early morning mist
came the deer in its entirety.
I saw it
The deer
I leveled the gun
Like dense lead in my hands.
As soon as I fired the gun
I collapsed into an endless space.

I remember my last view
as if it were a movie frame
(cut to black)
I saw the deer fall.
We both went at the same time.
I still recall that fateful day,
when I traded a deer's life
for my own pride.

A View to Kill Bradley Culley
Bradley Culley, 11
Portland, Maine

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