Cold sun slips from a ruddy sky.
Like a great hunter I trudge
alone through the snow. I stop
and hear nothing, and then the wind
rises darkly from the pines.
Last night it snowed again.
Gunless, wielding only my eyes,
I follow tracks of a single deer
beneath oaks crowned with last light.
Desiccated leaves, a ghostly flock,
perch on crusted branches.
The trees glower above the snow
and ask, Are you a great hunter?
The question dissolves in chatter
of wingless rattling leaves.
Sapphire sky climbs to violet,
the stars sharp as crystals.
If I were to die, I would
want to die here, trudging
these drifts, so close on the trail.
by John Savoie
Editor’s Note: It isn’t often that the narrator of a poem so perfectly describes his last wishes—most people can’t formulate that singular desire, but this poem’s spare imagery brings a good death to the fore quite simply.