Wolf Moon.  The hungry pack sings from the hill.  Traveling the frozen river, a handful of skittish elk catch the scent of woodsmoke and hesitate, then, single file, steal into the timber.  In the rough shelters on the point, hearthfires burn hot, yet webs of glittering frost grow thick on every inside wall.  Now is the Moon of Snow in the Lodges.  Trees freeze and break.  Snow drifts under every door.  The warm air in each low-walled cabin is stale, sharp with smoke, rank with the musky smell of sleeping men.  Figures huddled on makeshift pallets mutter and snore while outside, Spirit Dancers make their winter medicines on the sky.  Against star-shot darkness, second heaven shimmers in a sun-wind.  Sentries marvel.  Between watches, snow creaks under the moccasins of curious men.  Fey auras, shining ribbons bright as majolica, writhe over the fort.  Sparks rain from Firefox, his tail of flames.  Trailing glory like a cloak of light, Heimdahl paces the Rainbow Bridge.  Squadrons of Valkyries’ massed horse shed frosty glamours; their sinuous ranks steadily advance.  These are virile auguries.  The Moon of Hard Winter is upon them. Titanic serpents stir at the rim of space.  Wrapped in blankets, Ordway, Gass, Whitehouse, all the faithful diarists crowd an angle of the palisade to see ghostlights of these cold worms.  They see too the hot white cloud of their own mingled breathing thin to icy haze.  But for this, all bodes well.

In the Journals that aurora always sparkles, a few fading pages to refract the two Captains' long twilight.

Copyright © 2009, Jeff Streeby


Image Credit: Studiolit, some rights reserved

Jeff Streeby grew up in Sioux City, Iowa, where he attended Morningside College. He holds a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Poetry from Gerald Stern’s program at New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire.  He is a horseman, cowboy poet and performer whose work has been published in Cowboy Poetry: The Reunion, Lynx, Rattle, Simply Haiku, Flashquake, Siusun Valley Review, Naugatuck River Review and others.  Find him online at: www.jeffstreeby.com.