Lanterns almost white
against the blackness of the night,
carbide hissing, igniting
the burn of youthful desire.
Boys like miners thread
their way through the dense
to the distant bay of hounds.
Raccoons scurry from tree
to tree, testing the dense foliage.
Climbing high, they hear danger
in canine cries, and their hearts
beat against the sudden stillness
of the night. The forest sniffs
acetylene burning and knows
its vulnerability as boots
crackle across the leaf-laid pattern
of the flooring. The imminence
of death drips against the earth's
elements, and life trembles
as the dogs move in to tree
their prey. A rifle cracks and the thump
of furred life descends in the false light
of reflected lamps and panting boys.