The sound of birdshot rolling across the bloodstained wood floor refuses to leave my memory

Metallic iron scent lingering, even after two coats of Killz paint

Oppressive summer sun so foreign to this land, beads of sweat as my hands rhythmically scrub away bits of a person I once knew and cared for 

10 hours and still I cannot bring myself to stop scrubbing 

I leave only to scream, to cry, to let it sink in

I sink to the late evening dew soaked earth 

Knees dirty and hands knowing the only thing that feels safe—help

'Did you have enough to eat?' 'Here, I'll make you a sandwich'

Strangers hug, awkward words escaping while the whispers swirl

'Was it intentional?' They ask me. I am numb. 'I don't know' I plead with my eyes and shrug 

I barricade myself in memories, not my own

The sound of the scanner and scent of old photographs, hopeful. 

I smile and laugh until I am crying

His father stands silently behind me and places a warm hand on my shoulder but I cannot turn around

I do not have adequate words to express that ‘I am sorry’

Sorry isn’t sufficient

The sniffles say enough and finally I turn around but he’s gone

There beside me sits a picture, a successful hunt

Pride on his face, Amos is nearly 11

And I hear the sound, birdshot rolling across the bloodstained wood floor