“It came down from the Older Brothers of the Confederacy and was “gaíwagwëniyò” which means “truth”.

~William Crouse “History of the Senecas”

Like the child unexpectedly released
from chores that teach responsibility
and keep the house running tip-top,
I escape down the sod path,
roll off, and lose myself in the woods.

Saplings of hickory and black ash
jut past the fringe of poplars
now releasing their golden leaves
through the outreach of fern
to the wet mulch below.

Shards of September sun
split the mountain clouds and
spatter off tulip tree leaves
to dance against the shadows
of the ancient three-trunk maple.

Deeper in, the downed choke cherry
riddled with millipedes and black beetles
lies half buried in sweet decay.
It is here, three years ago,
I discovered a giant puffball.

I have not found another since
but never give up the search for one
or for the hollow tree that old Gus Musket used
to hide his deeds, or the glasses
Grandpa lost on some wild tractor ride.

Senecas who knew these woods
before Grandpa or Gus or I came along
said one who hunts the giant puffball
carries a fallow sack.