Poem – What We Must Do

In the first light of day we head from the city
into the greening forest filled with bird voices.

We reached the bottom of the first hill when
we stopped in our tracks – remains of a deer.

For the 3rd time in the last three years, we have found the reamins of deer while out hiking. The frist two were in northern Minnesoata, when we came about multiple parts. This time it was within a park in our backyard. After some time spent hiking through the rest of the trees looking for anything else and listening to the ravens converging on our location, I feel this has now become part of my path – to put to rest creatures that have fallen, that we have lost with no respect and with no dignity.

Here is the poem I wrote after the second discovery and the first time we returned the bones back to earth and the sky. Back to the trees to be cradled and carried to the next world.  I now believe clouds are the fallen being carried with gentle hands to where they may now rest.

We found remains
not of the day or night
not of the moon or sun
but of something more
primal and of the earth
and soil carrying its voice
from pastures to fields
to the winter beds.

The remains we found of
creatures roaming
the open space
the land born of themselves.

Searching snow covered grounds
a rake is used like a ship
dredging a canal, but
at the surface, gentle
tugs, attention paid to
the amount of resistance,
the emitted sound when metal
hits a rock, dried wood,
or what I am looking for.

When a brownish blur
catches my eye through cattails
I know I am done.
It’s time to return
you to earth.

2x4s laid in the snow
covered dirt road, away
from low hanging pine limbs
and prairie grasses.

I place your rib cage upon
the altar, sprinkle gasoline
and say a few words
before throwing the match.


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