The ghosts appeared as they do
whenever I go to the woods –
Mom and Dad, grandparents,
aunts and uncles, a brother-in-law,
friends, deer, bear, turkey, Europens
and Natives. All the way back
to that near murder called a sacrifice.
Then back to Abel. It’s part of the price I
pay to enter the woods, a jug of wine
to Charon for their brief reprieve.
They don’t talk much or maybe I don’t.
It’s as if the limitations of words are
finally accepted; there is something
in their presence that gives a curious
hope I have never been able to name,
the way holding a crying baby next
to you, rocking softly, whispering,
“shh, shh, shh” calms the child
and you. I often forget I’ve gone to the woods
to hunt being haunted by those presences
holding me next to them.