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Between the naked trees
An old man and his lone hound
Rusted shotgun in his only hand,
Glacial eyes watching dark branches.
He listens to the cold wind
and distant calls of crows
who echo faded battle cries
once carried on running feet.
Untouched snow glistens mockingly,
Overlooked last hopes flutter
from frosted burrs
Shaking pallid powder to his slumped shoulders,
dampening his hair.
A bitter breeze dusts snow around his sunken boots,
and crystals melt in the cracks of its leather.
The hound nudges at the man’s leg
and licks the flakes from his ankle.
Nearby a broken turret protrudes,
The bullets having long been fired,
Wreckage long buried
Yet explosions still wrack his memory
gunpowder that hung in the opaque air,
dying screams that once rang through his battered skull,
Now pulled away by the wind, dissolving into the pale landscape
Fading gently from the fractured corners of his mind.
The sun begins to fail,
The sky begins to bleed
A final nod to a wounded soldier
Turn from this rotted place.
Head home, where you’re safe.
Let the shells remain under the ice,
But allow their story to linger vaguely.
The hound follows quietly,
leather leash dragging,
sniffing at the wind that fills the hollow boot prints.