What some men seek
in haunted attics, others find
on abandoned trails,
the old man replied.

In the aftermath of an inferno,
amid the ash, baked soil,
blackened granite,
the fire-scalped ridge,
I greeted the naked skeleton
of an old pine with a hand,
and forgetting my brutishness,
broke off a scalded humerus,
heavy with marrow
and unspent fire.

Having taken life, weak with shame,
I avowed her disembodied limb
to be my companion, and timber
   and flesh strode away
through canyon and stream,
   arm in arm.

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