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.
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.