She’d rewritten her story. I didn’t figure
much in it now, or as a means, not an end,
a miscalculation . . . . But for me, the high bare hills—
especially that cut, where the power-lines soar out over
still seemed the place where I had met with a god,
only a god could erase so much and leave so little. . . .
(Though it could comfort, too—as if a blessing
rose from the white dust—when love returned, and hurt.)
I was careful who I took there; but once I took a friend—
a male friend—to whom something so bad happened, so early,
his very interest in the world strikes everyone as a triumph
of life itself. . . .
It was late October’s burnt-orange
before the rains. Coming back, we half-saw something glide
like a shadow over a hillcrest, a carnivore’s
low-slung lope, not a deer’s.
(There were lion warnings.) And then the couple pointing
to the slope behind us, my slope, and there they were,
six or eight, leaping twistily into the air
so the snout came down where the tail had been. Not lions,
perhaps wild dogs?
especially brave by myself, but I’ll usually follow
someone else who’s brave. My friend was off, up the steep
half-track by the fence. They waited
till we were thirty yards away, just close enough
to establish they weren’t giving ground, then trotted
over the skyline. But. . . not dogs, the ovoid
almost feline ears, yellow fur, the draggly tail. . .
And the curvetting dance? Maybe they were hoping
to trick the ground squirrels, my friend said; and ever after
the place seemed half to belong to another god, a god
of twistiness, of survival
under myriad forms.