When I stayed with my grandparents
in Little Falls, New York,
a town of steep hills,
a modest house
9 Moreland Street
my grandfather drove to the bank
and home for lunch every day.
But before the leaves changed
he'd begin walking to work;
I'd see him puffing up the hills
in his wool suit,
sit down at the semi-circle counter
in their kitchen
to wolf-down a quick white bread sandwich
and glass of milk
before heading downhill to the bank.
The .308s he made us
weigh 8.2 pounds each.
They start the day light
but not after 8 hours hiking the heavily forested Adirondacks.
While his friends puffed,
Bill Snyder, bicycle manufacturer,
John Gillan, garbageman and handyman,
George Comstock, Iroquois,
my Grandfather Cotter
would glide through the mountains carrying his rifle,
hardly breaking a sweat.
He'd walk quietly through thick brush,
step over fallen trees.
When my father lost most of a lung to radiation,
and no longer had the wind to carry a rifle,
he was such a great shot
he carried a holstered .44.
Once he took the front leg off a deer with a first shot.
The next took the other front leg.
When he got to the young buck
he shot it a third time in the shoulder
aligned with its heart.