She Comes Around

In the photograph from the wildlife camera
she appears at dusk, side-on,
her full tail in the air:
the big ginger cat
from the farm next door.

She is one of those puzzles you find
in newsprint books at the tobacconists
— which one of these doesn’t belong? —
because before and after her on the camera
are a mountain lion and a red fox.

I thought of the two bobcats who came
to the picture window on St. Stephen’s Day
at three o’clock in the morning
looking intently in,
and the man in Finland whose dog got out:
the wolves at the forest fringe
were calling it to come and play.

There was no blood, he said.
The dog just disappeared into their jaws.

Still, she comes around:
again this morning on the deer trail
where she sat gazing up,
the jays and the blackbirds with new hatchlings
diving, exploding into the air,

and her
wearing their worry and disapproval
— even, you think,
their appetites and their hatred,
like a bright blessing,
the urgent chatter of the birds
an electric hum
almost to the horizon.

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