Sons of Cain: Hunting a Ridge Between Lockwood and Sizerville State Park

Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley

"Fire," hisses my Paw     in full regaliaus two orange bulbs     of fluorescent deathhunkering             among red oak and switchesof witch hazel.           I press the .243tighter            against my right shoulderThe eyepiece on its scope            coringmy wide white eye           juicing it downmy soft brown       cheeks so full of violence             and the lunch of Viennasausages         I'd upchucked secretlybehind Sweet birch                or maybe Shagbark?I've never            been goodat IDing trees.           Paw's left eye firesfrom me to the doe                   from me to the doestomach acid still tugging          on the triggerof my throat.              Sweet JesusHe's thinking so loud                I can hear the brattlingof slurs            through my earplugsFire you little pussy               Your skin softerthan split sausage?        He'll chaw mebetween them ivory               dentures. He'llturn          my hide inside outsurer            than any sure thing.I take stock                of the brown doe herbare head             and pregnant bellymy crosshairs bobbing        between her exposedforeleg and shoulder.       IfI breathe              lifeinto              a single bulletdormant now            in the chamberhammer and pin             it will shatterher           lungsit will powder us             into our most basic partsWhy       didn't Godaccept Cain's       sacrificeI ask             my Pawwisps of white hair                     antlersbranching             from the crownof his head            Becausesure as                shit Paw saidGod ain't              no vegetarian.

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Benjamin Kingsley

Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley is not the Ben Kingsley best known for his Academy Award-winning role as Mahatma Gandhi. This Ben is a touch less famous, having not acted since his third- grade debut as the Undertaker in Music Man. A Kundiman alum, Ben is recipient of the Provincetown FAWC and Tickner Fellowships. He belongs to the Onondaga Nation of Indigenous Americans in New York. His first, second, and third books debut 2018, 2019, and 2020: Not Your Mama’s Melting Pot (selected by Bob Hicok), Colonize Me (Saturnalia), and Dēmos forthcoming with Milkweed Editions. Peep his recent work in Boston Review, FIELD, jubilat, Kenyon Review, New England Review, Oxford American, and Tin House, among others.


Winter 2019

Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

Stadler Center for Poetry
Bucknell University

G. C. Waldrep

Managing Editor
Andrew Ciotola

Shara Lessley

West Branch is a thrice annual magazine of poetry, fiction, essays, and reviews, founded in 1977 and housed at the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University.

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