boys in the wood


Sliding off our packs, we collapse
reaching automatically for water bottles
five minute of rest well earned
but there is much to do before dusk
and the unforgiving sun mocks you still
where it made the hike unbearable
now he races towards the cover of a ridge
wood needs to be gathered and water stored
level ground found, evened and tents erected
it’s not all work with old friends around
random screams and splashing
fools fencing with future firewood
mother would worry, but we only laugh
a bottle of bourbon rewards hard labor
making merit badges from sips of gold
like a bail of hay through rounded horses teeth
the sun disappears over the hungry hills
night fall in the woods is a sacred time
when boys play games in a gnarled land
owned by those scratched under their beds
the fire ring’s light keeping a tidal perimeter
lapping like waves on a shore then retreating
broad smiles and bourbon fuel starts fire bounding
the fire licks our heels as we jump over
leaving only the size sorted lumber as its repast
pumped purified water boils to cook our dinner
reminiscing of the day’s trek in front of the hearth
projecting to the screens of shadowed canopies
the bitter sweet smell of pine wood smoke
mixed with the chill of the moons silver light
makes the enchantment of each tale amplified
exhausted from the ascents and downhill trails
laden like Himalayan Sherpas on rugged terrain
sleep comes swiftly sprinkled with starlight
and just as abruptly stirred from this slumber
by the unscreened sun’s morning serenade
calling like a bugle boy to a new day’s events


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