National Bison Range, Moiese, Montana

Silt-brown and yellow, yellow and brown
the grass urine-yellow
rising into mismatched haunches, and there,
mud stained with sweat, musk, blood:
a brown inimical to
the sweet-pea blue of the sky,
the clover crushed underfoot
and feathered with dust.

The bison gather in knots
on the rolling grassland,
their heads blocked by the air.
In those scattered threes or twos
undeniably, some memory of the
rippling plain of bone and hair,
and in the siege hammer heads
that great Picasso eye,
staring like a shark,
determined, drowning.

They have hidden outrage well
or perhaps they have lost it,
or perhaps outrage is a human thing.

On 70th Street — eight forty-six,
a February day.
The cars queue shoulder to shoulder
at the intersection,
their thunder rolling up
from the Oak Street Bridge
where they ford the Fraser.

Listen! Just like we did as kids,
putting our heads to the sidewalk
and the singing lamppost.
Listen to the inhumation of sound
from the silver metal sea.
How bright they are! How solitary,
the drivers, their eyes staring,
grimly and gladly staring
drowning, determined.

They have hidden outrage well
or perhaps they have lost it,
or perhaps outrage is a human thing.

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.