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He parked in the yard at dawn
on the fi rst day he hunted
and walked up a wagon road
that wound through leafl ess gray woods.
The trees were unfamiliar.
Once he had edged in among them --
he'd heard a squirrel chatter.
The trunks stood close together.
How the land lay further in,
he could neither see nor guess.
Another squirrel chattered
further in. He retreated
to the road, and felt relieved.
As he went on, the woods thinned.
In a clearing by the road
stood a small persimmon tree,
leafl ess in the reddish light,
the fi rst one he'd ever seen.
He walked up the grassy slope
for a closer look. In the quiet
the bright fruit hung motionless.
He never saw another person,
nor a sign of one, back here,
nor even any livestock.
He had come out here in part,
he now knew, for the stillness.
There were no noises here --
only sounds, to be listened for.