our hunting cabin up north

Justin Groppuso-Cook, Michigan State University

“Violence is part of the dynamic of change, springing from a lack of proportion with the multiplicity of things. It is this violence, this wrath, that is divine.” —William Everson

they’ve kept the same Playboy calendar
sitting above the toilet
for years, watching the latest football replays
in their underwear
as they sip Bud Light, waiting
for a prize buck in the window. i cannot stop

remembering my first witness
of gutting the deer: stomach split, flooding
organs and the stench of intestine,
eyes marble, moon in pupil. they said
one day it would be my duty

& pleasure. last night after failing
to locate their kill,
flashlight capturing smoke
searching for blood on petals, they sped
to the local bar, hit on
“crazy Indian bitches,” and ended up
in a ditch. i roam

these trails alone, kicking puddles
that detain the moon.
our man-made lake rippling
in the distance; i watch a deer lick every crest,
antlers like lightning
that cradle the canopy and hold
every leaf to her limb. in the morning,

they piece together all they can
of their drunken escapade. a deer hangs
behind them, hollowed out.
we start a fire with wet wood
and a healthy amount of gasoline, empty cans
littering the pit.


Justin Groppuso-Cook is a poet working on his undergraduate at Michigan State University. His studies include: English with a concentration in Creative Writing, the American Indian Studies Program (AISP), and the Residential College in the Arts & Humanities (RCAH). He is also a contributing writer for the blog Bonus Cut, which focuses on art, education, and activism within Michigan’s hip-hop community. In his free time, Justin enjoys strolling through campus, shredding the synthesizer, and painting.



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