No one knew where the old man came from
no one remembered a time
when he wasn’t coming or going
to and from the cabin built in the remote poplars
rucksack on his back; pump shotgun in his hand.
Some called him a squatter,
some said he was a hermit,
some even viewed him a holy man; called him Moses.
A family in another county legally owned the property
they had no interest in the land commercially
so the old man’s presence there was a benefit.
He watched the land for free.
He was apt at thwarting trespassers.
Rumor was he shot them on sight
with no advanced warning
other than the posted signs
nailed sporadically throughout the poplars.
Signs with words long faded by the elements
glaring white as bones bleached by the sun.