Paul Nelson: "Making Me Look"




Under spruce and fir, a stream of chartreuse moss,

dented by deer, pawed by bucks in rut, the spot where

twenty years ago I planted two fine dogs.


I haven’t been back since then, but keep my ears open,

know that glade hasn’t been bulldozed or fenced for cattle,

that Olsen’s grandson shot his first buck, a ten pointer


within yards of the dogs’ remains, as it should be,

old world magic still wafting like Celtic mist in trees,

the sound of quiet itself, stirring the mind’s keep


like a gunshot…noticed not as passing or future, but

instant remnant of any man’s having traveled woods

more than roads, of cherishing shadow and fog,


hearing dogs bark, seeing them leap fallen logs,

stand dark against dark, making him look hard.



Paul Nelson, long-time Professor and Director of Creative Writing at Ohio University, has published six books, including an AWP winner and a University of Alabama Press Series selection.