clean-barrel shot

Maurice Kaehler
2 min readSep 18


I hear the rifle report.

I turn away at the trigger squeeze

The sound of the shot is efficient.

Crisp. A clean barrel shot. Not cheap

I had been asked to help position the cow

To give the shooter a clear shot.

I hear the thud of an 800-pound animal

Landing on the fine dirt.

Fine dirt that now billows outward.

Towards me.

Covering my body like a squall.

The voice of things are clear

When there is a full commitment behind them.

I run.

The chainsaw sounds off in the distance

Signaling the cow is now being half-sided

She’s drained out. Her head’s already cut off.

Sitting on the fence near the cow squeeze

I cry.

John Van Ruiten surprises me.

His garage is on the other side of the fence.

His work is transporting large construction equipment

The shop is where he works

On his two white and yellow Peterbilt 18-wheelers.

His red neck is real. He’s taciturn. Quiet

We never seem to talk to him.

Keep our distance.

Probably because he lost his wife to cancer

3 years before.

Makes him an alien to our family.

“What’s wrong” he asks?

“Why are you crying?”

“I didn’t want to see the cow get shot” I reply

“I didn’t want to see it die like that”

He remains standing by me

For as long as I cry.






Maurice Kaehler

Comprehensivist, Writer, and Systems Thinker/Healer. My experience is my sutra and my body is my prayer.