Illuminated now by stars

the tracks leave the trail

in a steady path

over the curve of the hill.

This morning old Carver and I

watched snowdust spirits

whirl over their imprints like desert ghouls.

Whiteness still slept on the tips of pines,

the woods soundless and fresh

in the first flash of sun.

The soft surface of the slope sparkled clean

slashed only by those awkward human strides.


A man needs snowshoes to hold himself up

in snow crazy and deep as that.

Damned fool, Carver pontificated,

squinting into the bright,

to walk the way of avalanches.

The fool may have circled back

or stopped at the next ridge

but his tracks showed no other course.

I wonder if he’s still out there,

if that’s him or the wind

wailing like an outcast soul

stalking sacred fire.


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