my father fred wore a sheepskin coat
with leather buttons adorning it
he had a pipe in his teeth
lucky strikes in his pocket
and a cowboy hat curled at the brim
he smelled like black suede cologne
and ginseng root
or musk if he’d been deer hunting

he carried a long bow slung over his shoulder
a knife and a zippo lighter in his pocket
i would scurry along in the woods behind him
my long brown hairs trailing through
the limbs

being a southern man
who had lost hope is what killed him
he’s thirty years gone now
mama still has his coleman lanterns
and i’ve wandered off too far in the trees
seeking the scent of him