The Returning

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We two, on six brooding feet

traversed the sandy trail,

an earthen record of morning walks,

strung along the ruins of

an old forgotten summer resort.

I could see children bursting out

slappity screen doors free

into the sun, fingers raking

through the tall grass, laughter

fading into green shadows.

It left me vacant,

alone with my peculiar

impression that

sometime in 1964, the

spirit god of wonder

departed from our senses

convinced that humans

were bound to machine

the earth to death.

From then it’s been up to us

to science our way back home.

I was just a boy of seven but lucky for

having known that spirit in

north wood summers yet

within me, held quiet,

to the bone,

always to remember.

Back on the trail

with the dog my son

named Hunter, her nose to

the ground, my heart

in the void, we moved

in the milky dawn, through

a cloud held wet and heavy

to the ground. I was

contemplating a kind of

departure, an occupational

suicide that would strip my life

down to a primal bearing.

Next to a man’s inherited religion,

vocation might be the other pillar that

the inner-Samson, blinded and beaten,

pushes against when it’s time to

reckon with his mortal wounds.

I was near the end

of being known

to others and myself

for what I do,

for seeking meaning outside of

nature’s domain, for having mistaken my

human substance for the

formulas of modern culture.

Enter then the universe. For

just steps above us, on the trail,

a coyote appeared with a

fresh kill of rabbit hanging

soft and surrendered in her

mouth. She stopped, she

stared into us like kin.

We did not move.

We did not speak.

We did not fear. Then off

into the mist she

slipped like vapor, left us

blinking, for thinking years later

we had seen some vision of the

first world, a sign, a shrouded call

for a holy returning.

For then

the herald angels sang

through the hungry howls of

desperate pups, as if one

thousand voices aching

for all creation in

surround sound, tearing into

breakfast so loud as

to exorcise the demons of civilization,

so resonant as to shape-shift my

core into the pack. The skin on

my neck was lightning, the

deep in my chest was quaking.

Yet we, both man and companion

became still.

And there it was,

not in knowing what or how,

but in finding the strength I needed

to move ahead;

It was not long until

I sold everything I had worked for and

went the way of dogs.

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2 thoughts on “The Returning

  1. The imagery and descriptions of nature and animals coupled with poignant observations about living are so moving. If I had to make a comparison I’d say your writing would be like a combination of Mary Oliver and Jim Harrison

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