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.