The End of the Line

For Grandad

as a little girl I watched you
split fur from flesh
knife blade sharpened on the
beaver tail
you kept in the freezer

you sat with your stretching boards
wool socks and work boots
planted firmly on the floor
greasy cap at a jaunty perch
long-ashed cigarette
dangling from your lips

hard to believe the same fingers
that gave grandkids
peppermints from the
pocket of your plaid shirt
and fed peanuts to the chipmunk
perched on your shoulder
could pile up a heap of
bloody carcasses
on the snowbank
next to our plastic sleds