Red and orange leaves fall to the ground.
They whisper to each other and land
in yellowing grass to lie in perfect stillness.
A young girl walks to the woods
carrying a travel sack full
of food and clothing,
wearing a deep blue, hooded cloak.
She stops to stare at the wall of trees
and glances back toward her village,
where she left her older brother
wondering where she’d gone
or if she’ll return.
The decision is certain
as the leaves falling before her,
certain as the silence, the cold,
and the cloak around her shoulders.
She pulls up her hood and strides
confidently along the path.
A wolf howls somewhere