Bush Men: Poetry

By Bradley McIlwain

(for R.D.)


river rushes north

along aged Indian


trails cupping hands

with scout guides


and ghosts of foreign

navigators once lost


among mosquito marsh

and dense brush, asking


sustenance from

unforgiving earth


plucking berries

you picked in autumn


before she turned

gold to silver and


mud brown—the

end of hunting


and the creation of

renewed paths, when


beauty paved the road to

harshness, we gathered


dancing in deer skins, to

the sacred drum, hoping


to find the heartbeat that




(Originally published in Wilderness Interface Zone.)