You have been the rumble in the darkness
that has vibrated against your sleep deaf ears
as your heat melts into the cold.
You snort and sniff the first odor of bark
that you will shroud in your winter fur.
You open your eyes.
And follow the others into the pre-dawn sky.
You are beckoned over a blur of brown, green, golden land
to follow the warmth as it washes north.
Your shadows pass in schools on familiar waters.
It seemed much easier the last time,
you travelled between these banks
when water pushed you on.
Perhaps, you were younger then.
Perhaps, you were anxious for the taste of salt
and the wide spaces that would greet you.
But the waters rage against you now
as you pull your last meal from the torrents
before you settle in the cold-time sleep.
And now you eat in the dying of the year
as birds fly south overhead.