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.