Kelly Joslyn’s quiet and simple poem Before the Hunt is a childhood reminiscence of her father. The child’s early-morning attentiveness to her father extends to the dim lighting and the smell of the tangerine, like looking at an old Polaroid of something from childhood. Kelly told The Dewdrop, “For me this piece was the complex rendering of gentleness as a choice – the beauty and longevity of that moment’s afterlife. May we all learn to be more gentle with each other.”
Before the Hunt
I never grew to love the kitchen,
but at 4 years old and 4 am,
I treasured, without a map,
the man my father was, standing in it
casting long shadows in the almost light
of the low watt bulb over the hooded stovetop
still in his underwear, his mountainous frame
not yet camouflaged or ready for the hunt.
My flanneled bunny-print bottom
perched on the pressed Formica countertop
tiny, hot feet delightfully curled
against the cool, stainless sink basin
small fingers wrapped around the ripe yellow pears
on the smooth surface of a still favored clay cup
the smell of warm kid-coffee, tobacco,
and citrus tickling my nose.
My father’s rough, sledgehammer hands gracefully
peeling the fragrant tangerine skin, exquisitely stripping
every tender section of all the bitter white stuff,
before offering up the smallest, sweetest pieces
spitting the slippery seeds between my toes and giggles,
the dull ting of harmless fruit bullets punctuating our laughter.
Kelly Joslyn is an educator, writer, kayaking enthusiast, and all around caregiver to the four-legged family members who share her home, Katamount Sanctuary, near the Kinzua Reservoir, in the Allegheny Mountains of Western New York.