Into the woods we follow the clues
you planted in my sleep:
your scarf hangs on a bush, a note
in your unmistakable hand, illegible
to the child’s eye. In the pockets
of your discarded coat, newspaper
clippings, cartoons to make us laugh,
stories that carry a message for each of us
between the lines. The damp print
blackens my fingers. I almost chant out loud
What time is it Mister Wolf?
wait for the thrill as you pounce
from behind a tree, snarling
It’s six o’clock and it’s my supper-time,
your hair still dark as you loom over
three white-socked, squealing girls.
Instead, silence drips from the wet leaves,
like fear. We will not find you here, today.
I will come back alone, follow the paths
of walks we shared, and where the trees
start to thin, I will hear your voice,
still waiting to be found.