A few weeks ago I dreamed of poison.
Blue and purple, sticky lidded petals like a little cup.
One of the most poisonous plants in the world, as beautiful as it is deadly.
There is such potency out there,
running through the veins of the leaves and the marrow of the bones,
lacing delicate tendrils up the chiseled rock face of mountains
and pooling in the wet slick paw print of the predator.
Nothing like the ghost faced presence of civilization
with its smokestacks and asphalt,
supermarkets and hospital rooms,
glass, steel, and machines.
The boys are getting bigger now and they’re wild.
Running, jumping, screaming, fighting, playing
until the walls can’t contain them on these frosty winter days
and we pile up layers,
boots, mittens and scarves,
jackets, and hats,
double pairs of socks and
We pick up sticks for protection,
stalk a group of ducks and dare each other
to find the cardinals first.
We run over the bridge,
breath like smoke coming in puffs through the air,
around the bend in the trail and into the woods,
mostly box elders and multiflora rose,
but to us pure magic.
And that’s where we find him,
the large buck.
Unmoving, lifeless, still.
Huge antlers, stretching skyward.
I explain death,
The boys worry over him, wish he would get up.
Finally we whisper thanks for letting us look
and apologies that he can no longer run with us,
and go back to bounding through the woods.
Later we come back with Wil, to remove the antlers,
the boys so proud to show him this prize.
We’ll use them for flintnapping arrow points from cast off glass and bottle bottoms,
or for the handles of tools or the fine, sculpted pieces of traps.
And we’ve watched, as the deer disappears,
day by day, seemingly melting before our very eyes,
returning to the place from which he once came.
That’s how they’ll learn about the world,
In the small patch of woods
where the wild things are.
Across the bridge
and just around the bend.
Thank you for listening,