He walks the woods no more
this land whose every hill he knows
geodes by the stream
the trail where turkeys file at dusk.

Right hand upon his dog,
he sits beside the window to watch
the squirrels she used to chase
cache nuts against the coming dark.

A doe, two fawns at clearing’s edge
browse by the lick set out last fall.
Their colors blend with leaves and brush
that hide morels awaiting spring.

His wife is ill. Her malaise named
but without cure. His hips, once limber,
grate now sharply bone on bone.
He lets the dog out, sees her roam.

When he whistles,
she trots slowly home.

Cynthia M. Sheward