Chews its way through the trees
Snarling at resolute pines
Devouring fragile flowers, harsh winds
Scouring earth of life and sound,
Leaving behind only the strong and the vicious.
The night draws a veil over the sea of black firs,
Swaying in Mother Moon’s pallid light.
Between the trunks, where silver drips through branches
Forming pale puddles on frozen ground
Death walks, starving death, wrapped in rippling black fur,
Waves in the wind,
Mirroring the treetops. He slides from
Shadows, warm breath catching falling moonlight.
Nose first, glistening, creeping on cold feet through
Corridors of conifer,
Ever-moving, watching, smelling, searching.
He slowly slinks in darkness, snaking a path
Through the silence. Claws click on stones,
Long, loping paces carry him effortlessly
Beneath the trees low arms, scaling fallen logs.
A scent has drifted on the breeze, wound its way
From miles off and found hungry nostrils.
He breathes deep, head snaps around, pace increases,
Powered by purpose and direction.
The smell is familiar; it carries stories with it,
Half remembered in half-light,
Echoes of wood smoke, warmth, real warmth,
Memories of plenty and shelter from the snow.
Head shakes, echoes fade.
All he smells is blood.
Miles away, a figure stands beneath an empty oak tree.
Shifts from one foot to another, creaks with age,
Mimicking the ancient branches above.
He wears black fur, draped in waves
Over ancient bones it stirs with his shallow breath,
A hood throws his eyes in to shadow, but a long nose
Protruding from the pool of black.
Head tilting back he stares at Mother Moon
Gazing from the heavens at her lonely children
Searching for one another in the empty winter night.
As he watches, the silence breaks,
A mournful cry, starving scream shatters the darkness.
Death finds the trail still warm.
The old man shuffles to a stump to sit,
Leans his arms upon his knees and waits in the moons pool.
On his stump beneath the oak, he awaits
His honoured guest.
The beast circles the tree’s edges,
Hesitant, cautious of the man who smells of
Home and waits so bravely. The moonlight
Fills the clearing, save for the stump,
Crouching in the old oak’s shadow.
The wolf approaches.
Silhouetted in the icy twilight, the furred figure
Rises, as death closes the distance on hungry paws.
Yellow eyes bore in to the darkness of his hood
The air between them charged with quiet,
Disturbed only by the clouds of condensation
As their breath mingles in midnight moonlight,
The tension breaks as the beast leans back,
Coils muscular legs to spring,
Dreaming of tearing and bathing in its preys warmth
As the hunter leaps, the hood flies back
Yellow eyes catch the wolf’s gaze
He checks his leap, tumbles to the ground
With a whimper and curls in to a ball.
The old man smiles, the moon making a jewel
Of the single tear that runs along the
Wrinkled riverbed of his face.
He whispers, voice trembling
Under the weight of a lovers name;
His heart, so still and slow while he waited
Thuds in his chest with the passions of the past
His mouth opens again
. “I thought I’d lost you forever.”
The wolf unfurls slowly
Remembering the scent of safety,
The cabin, in a different forest
They had shared,
The sense of belonging, long forgotten
In wandering the wilderness.
He looks at the old man
And sees home.
Lifting his head, the hunger is gone,
Scraping against the ancient stump,
Hair collecting in black clumps
On the bark, pale skin glimmering in the light.
As the full Moon watches, his jaws soften,
Claws drop from paws, no, fingers,
And he stands for the first time in years.
The old man creeps forward,
Hardly daring to believe; but the warm touch of his skin
Is proof enough.
Yellow eyes fix on yellow, as the moon watches,
Laughs, for her lonely children,
Together again at last.