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Trees. Silent and still,
dark mounds in the turning night.
We pass by them
and carelessly leave them behind for the next day.
Mother and I come home
to the big white house,
making loud noises and laughing at nothing high in the backs of our throats
to scare away the creeping darkness that is descending on all the forest around us.
I kiss her sweet, soft cheek and wait for the rooms to fall quiet,
as they should be.
When her breathing slows and I hear the final noise drop away like a bead of water,
I throw back my whispering sheets and bolt out of my room,
out of the now gray house,
out of the yard and into the woods.
Snips and snaps of sharp branches make cuts on my face and tangle my long hair,
as if to catch me and drag me back to where I belong.
But I laugh aloud as I run
and cut my hair in one swift movement with one of the knife branches.
Then I am out of the breathing forest.
Lithe, hoofed deer leap beside me through the dewy fields of rye,
but they fall away soon enough.
Only the wind can run with me as I go farther and faster, deep into the wild land.
Finally, I see him: the one that I run to.
I slow and he beckons me closer-
Happy eyes looking over my flushed cheeks, beating chest, and weary stumbling legs.
Suddenly he disappears behind a tree trunk and appears faster than a blink at my other side, face scrunched in delight at my surprise.
He is a trickster, Pan, but he is mine.
I close my thumb and forefinger around his skinny wrist and kiss it, and he leads me to his ferny den.
We eat crumbs of bread and green grapes under the midnight moon.
We talk softer than hearing can hear and entwine our chilled fingers, blowing clouds of vapor over each other like cloaks of silver mysteries.
Finally when the sky turns sleepily from black to dark blue, I leave him, sighing unhappily into his ear.
I wake next, with long hair and sore feet,
and spend the rest of the day
ensnared and enchanted,
waiting for the night to come again.