Arlene Kim

Hunt, Peck


A tyro, at the keys, I start a field
with stalks, bent.
Venture in, hunting, pecking,
to see, what? —now:

chickens. Inelegant, graceless.
Beaky pullets. Pillow-
breasted, neck and caw, claw,
jab. Kernels pricked, break.
Dropped and pecked. Uneven
stabs. A nib, a nibble. Sharp pecks
per seed. Each seed a letter.
Pock. Pock.

Into the woods I walked. I went alone.
Though I was afraid, I pretended
not to be. Every falling leaf
made a sound. And every bird, landing,
lifting again. I, too. Up
ahead in the path, a doe
emerged from a copse.
I stopped. She, too.
I stared and stared as long as she let me.


“Hunt, Peck” is reprinted from What have you done to our ears to make us hear echoes? (Milkweed Editions, 2011).


Arlene Kim grew up on the east coast of the U.S. before drifting westward. Her first collection of poems What have you done to our ears to make us hear echoes? (Milkweed Editions) won the 2012 American Book Award. She lives in Seattle where she reads for the poetry journal DMQ Review and writes poems, prose, and bits between.