Last night I met a trophy hunter
who admired my slender fingers —
he held my left hand up to the light
and praised the pretty white skin
on my palm and let me flare my fingers
out like the antlers of a stag — he took my wrist
and I didn't insist on a phone number —
I gave him mine,
even knowing what his game was.
I played it and all the time I knew
he'd want to claim some trophy or some prize.
He was a trophy hunter —
believe me, he had guns
in a glass cabinet like the one
my grandmother kept her champagne glasses in
(such rich families I've been involved in)
and he cleaned them regularly
with a long thin pipe
and a soft oily rag —
he was a paying hunter, you see,
the best in the company,
and he really didn't want me at all.
He only wanted some kind of trophy,
something pale and palmate
that he could hang on his wall
after the whole ugly thing was over.
This is Yarrow
Carcanet Press 2013