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Hunting: A Poem

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Humanities, Poetry, Writing on September 5, 2012 at 8:45 am

Allen Mendenhall

The following poem first appeared here in Arator.


The deer, leaned over, frightens

at the sound of the crack,

the broken stick beneath his  hoofs

or the hunter’s feet.

Wagging his tongue in the  moonlight,

shaking his fist at the sky,

the hunter loses choice and  chance.

A moment later

it would have been gunfire:

the sound

either unreal or untrue

that cannot be heard

except by the living.

A crisp cool tug of air,

like the long drag of a  cigarette,

wisps across the earth,

slaps him  in his face,

reminds him

of the coming cancer.

He looks through the sights, down  the barrel,

and fires at the nothing that’s there

to kill the something that is,

the sum of his existence,

and ours:

hope and truth.

  1. I read Hunting over morning coffee and this story, reported on National news last evening, rings in my head…I don’t know how the newscaster could keep her composure…even wear a smile…move on to the next story. Hope and truth? Today I feel challenged once again by humanity; the choices we make. Phone text read and sent while going 110 kms an hour? Sniper shot rings out and hits an innocent?

  2. Following the link I realize that this is your poem. Thank you.

  3. I enjoyed reading your poem!

  4. This poem has stayed with me in the weeks since I first read it. I keep hearing the crack of the broken stick and the blast of gunfire, and picturing how he “fires at the nothing that’s there / to kill the something that is, / the sum of his existence, / and ours . . .” Beautiful work.

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