Every autumn grandpa hunted bobwhite.
At dinner, he always warned “Bite slowly”
but at 9 years old, holster
and cap gun strapped to my hip,
chipmunk-cheeked with mashed potatoes and biscuits,
gravy odor filling my nose, I chomped into the spicy meat
in rapture—eyes closed—
I bit on a birdshot, chipping
and cracking an incisor down the middle.
My tongue found it, spit it out
on Great-grandma’s Royal Albert china plate.
It rolled up the edge and back to rest by a pea.
Gramps shook his head.
I let out a cry a neighbor declared
she heard half a mile away.
Fifty years later
my tongue still probes its worn cleft,
that metallic aftertaste
tainting every buttered biscuit,
birdshot embedded in every bite.