in the quickening woods of Jackson County,
I pressed my big body into the soil, a book
in hand as my camouflaged papaw scoped
his eye for deer. I learned to remain still,
quiet, and put my book away on occasion
to notice his noticing–the subtleties between
a fir branch’s tense sway and then its jostle,
the sound of a quiet thing on sure feet walking.
His eye locked just above the rifle. I didn’t keen
to the heft of the gun in my hands, one eye closed
and the other peering. I stayed to books
and noticing things, like how he brought salt
for the deer and noticed their runs–it seemed
he’d followed them steady for many, many years.