In the hollow he struts beneath budding poplar and dogwood,
his chest puffed, his gait stately and slow.
His voice rings against the hills, his song one he’s known since birth,
or perhaps longer still, embedded in his DNA, in his blood.
The spring forest reddens with the set of the sun
and evening birds stir and call, whippoorwill
and hoot owl calls mixing with the turkey’s tremolo.
Songs of the lone males seeking mates echo in the dusk,
a masculine musical mingling
as darkness rises from beneath brush and rock.
The tom is silent now.
He fans his broad tail, tucks his chin,