BELOW THE WATERLINE
Three pheasants there were, with their distinct
sound - they'd be in my rear yard each morning,
having flown over the railroad tracks from the
prison-farm yard across the way. They had a
distinctive sound - one I always thought sounded
metallic, like a clothesline squeak, the kind of
yard-noise these backyard mothers and women
were accustomed to already. Home-like. Gentle.
Then one day someone came by who was passing
through. He told me they were called 'ring-neck'
pheasants, because of the distinctive, yes, 'ring'
of color that went around their neck. He had a gun.
He was headed to the prison-farm field across the
tracks. His aim was to kill them. 'Good eating', he
said. I never saw them again. That was 1959.