A Bobcat in the Nearby Woods by John Grey



A bobcat’s more amazing
than the latest General Motors model.
Your feet follow your flashlight
toward those sharp green eyes.
Such a blush to your cheeks.
One half man, one half nature.
And a bath with shower-hose
deep as a roadside puddle.
In brief, a world so clear
with footsteps true to the earth they walk upon,
not even harsh bullfrog notes
enough to bar your way.
You’ve a garden to plow
and, better yet,
shaky chairs to occupy the porch.
And, from the surrounding woods,
the always cool scent of pine.
as days crumble and blacken,
drench fields in shadow
or drown them in dew,
a mystery to solve,
something moving, softly, gently,
like turning pages,
feline where life should be chloroplast.
And closer than ever is the sky,
a flashy jewelry,
no need to wonder why it glows,
go out to meet it, on foot,
never mind the mosquitos.
The way you disappear in darkness
amends all bites.
What else do you need?
A kitchen? A living room with fireplace?
Candlelight after comely sunset?
Maybe the panting tongue of a hound.
low snorts of joy.
as much mischief as the raccoons
that barter for your daily trash.
Ecstasy – it may happen –
rise unbowed
to a minuscule star,
via lichens, fireflies, crystals,
the stream’s gurgle
as it bears life
from spring to distant delta,
a tree leaning on its roots,
a thousand petals eager to be
the last to close up
before your fading face.
True, the solitude may
plea-bargain with your mind
as some memories reach out to bite you,
spider-strung, you’ll sense the whittled lives
spiraling down through tiny threads
of a far ago winter –
a labyrinth the length
of all the years you’ve lived.
The bobcat embraces night,
the odd unease
jolts the road you walk down.
Plain, pure, and warmly determined,
you lean forward for a better view
of such a shy, elusive creature.
Night’s warm as a bear’s coat,
rough and tawny like the thought
of creatures you’ve never imagined.
on this narrow road beyond all civilization,
broken trails made of nothing but earth
and yet, the narrower the going,
the wider the way you make your way through,
unsteadily, then steadily,
learning how downscaling is worthless
when the forest offers up the endless.
All along the way,
perfect intricacies
spot the wobbly flashlight flare.
If you go this way,
you may even come across a bobcat.
It may come across you.

©2020 John Grey


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John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Sin Fronteras, Dalhousie Review and Qwerty with work upcoming in West Trade Review, Willard and Maple and Connecticut River Review.


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