low grey clouds,
pulled down from the Great Blue,
press upon the passing buffalo
and the young warrior.

the cool rain, biting his skin,
the bow in his hand,
fitted with a small arrow–
enough to anger the beast, so that it might run, pushing the others
toward the high cliff,
where his father waited,
watching to see if his son was ready for the hunt.

the boy thought of his mother,
of what she would think of him
the man, eager for the kill,
the boy, dreaming of bright stars that speak secrets in the night

father had taught him an ancient Apache word,
little more than air,
the word he must speak
when he loosed his arrow.

the boy drew back the string,
took careful aim,
pulled in air,
fought tears–
breathed the word.