Thomas Doty – Storyteller

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Hunting for Poems

Up Deer Creek during hunting season, I sit on a rock outcropping and watch deer. They move through clearings, through stands of old growth amid the sounds of the forest: the tap-tapping of woodpeckers, the flapping of birds in the branches, the chatter of squirrels. Deer move past me, look my way and move on. They never look startled.

I carry little: notebook, pencil, water. No binoculars. No rifle. My method is this: I hunt for poems and when I find one, I carry it home. And a poem weighs less than a deer.

Back at the road I meet hunters armed to the hilt. They ask me what they always ask: "Seen a deer?" "No," I say. "Not one."