The hunt

The snow that hid between furrowed rows
collected somber whispers of early light
and lifted just enough of nighttime’s shroud
to make the going there a thing a man
could do.

……….. He stood a while, confused, unsure
of where to take a step. “I’ve lost my way,”
He thought, “I’ve got to get a grip.” He moved
his hands along the rifle stock to shift
the weight and ease the load.

“I’m here.”

He heard his father’s voice again, still soft,

“I’m here.”

……    .Then, from the gray, a form emerged
and walked ahead as if to lead the way.
He knew this form from years of watching it:
The heavy shoulders and hunting coat of red
and black; the heavy boots that marked a gait
as sure as it was long; the easy smile;
the eyes of welcome warmth; the air of grace.

.“I’m lost,” he said aloud. “And I’m afraid.”

The form, familiar, stood atop a rise
and turned to him. “You’re where you’re meant to be.
You’re mine: You’re strong. We’ll hunt this land for years
to come. I’m just across this other side,
down out of sight, but you’ll still know I’m here.
You stay. Hunt here for now. Time comes, you follow me.”

The sunlight broke the crest as he watched his father walk away.