Just west of Tuxedo,
Wildcat Mountain weathers
midsummer with dry brook beds,
our line of cars driving wily past
Indian Kill Lake peels a few locals
off to Pumpkin Hill Road
and the rest roll down to Warwick,
Shoulder-side, a green racer escapes
ess-wise to the nearby
jagged granite wall.
Something happens, not grand:
a solid ripple rolls bright green
through the pond where the May
goslings needed no help hatching,
the grounded tercel feeds on
a frankly red and stringy squirrel,
bland, sufficient as the reedy
crane dipped knee-deep in bracken,
calm as the white kitten
sitting like a teed ball on the lawn.
A killdeer plover struts stiffly
across her widow's walk of river stone,
no fooling now.
At Hood River, chaparral heat shoos
rattle snakes into the cool streets.
I see an owl settle where
some restless rodent didn't,
the rattlers too hot to hunt.
I am here to find an old man,
whom I will pull with the horn of my beak
through the bones of my feet
to fill my future skin and skull.