Before the snows

Colin Basterfield 2014

For Tom Brandt

I walk to quiet them—the voices
But with every pause for breath
they catch up

to needle, disrupt, confuse, to amuse themselves
they’ve even convinced my bones
to adopt a different point of view

Hide they say, you’re known, to those that hunt
prey, like elk, because you’re weak
the straggler fallen away from the herd

I pray for them to stop, preying on me
Cross the river, lose the scent
and hurry, before the snows

Shut up,
I know what I need to do
Toss the phone and stay on the right

Look, who’s in charge here?

That’s you. We’re only here to provide choice
Unless you mean Him, of course
He always listens
Always forgives

Pray more, pray harder
Pray you’re not prey
Keep walking

Cold now,

and dark
Yet still the chatter
Still the thought
Distill the thought
Die, still the thought

Quieter now, down at the river
Even flow, ripple over rock
leaves moss damp
Smell the air,
winter’s foreshadow
Snow’s cloak,
deadens sound,
absorbs voice

Silent now, they seem distracted perhaps
With elk that walk beside me seeking water
Trees that tower, seeking light
Blackberries yield under snow’s weight
Perhaps they’ll let me rest up a while

Warmer now, close my eyes
Hunker down between leaf and stream
Wait for the snows.