Gatlin' Dave

Painting, art, poetry

Gatlin' Dave

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Alan J. Couture

Gatlin’ Dave stared at his quarry
with eyes of burning ice—
Raised the rifle to his cheek
and fired once. Then twice!

The shots rang out loud and fierce
on that crisp Montana day.
But the huge deer heeded not Dave’s tries,
just munched forbs while looking his way.

Shots three, four, and five did follow
as Gatlin’ Dave pulled the trigger.
Yet still the monster stood, unhurt–—
Why? Dave couldn’t figure.

It gazed at Dave with eyes content
while filling up its belly.
The huge rack it wore like a crown
made Dave’s legs feel like jelly.

Reloading, thrice more Dave fired
at the giant there before him.
But the beast seemed not to care
and Dave’s chances grew dim.

Shots nine and ten split the air,
yet his target was standing, still.
Then in a long-tailed flash of white
was gone, having eaten its fill.

It seemed to laugh at Gatlin’ Dave
as through the woods it went.
Dave hurled curses at the beast,
even more than the bullets he’d spent.

Poor Gatlin’ Dave trudged back to camp,
cursing his bad luck.
“Next time I'll bring more rounds,” he vowed.
“Then I'll bag that buck!”

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