West reflects its final sky-blue-pinks
as I take coffee to the deck. Three geckos,
finger-length and fluid as cursive
claim space on sun-baked brick. Lithe,
pliant, glowing like hammered copper,
they appear bold southwest brooches
wrought by a master. They, unlike birds
we feed all winter or the dog whose dish
we fill twice daily, do not live by largess,
arrive not as beggars or thieves but fragile
and aloof as those weary men who knock,
wanting to rake, paint or repair in exchange
for chicken sandwiches and sweet tea.
I speak softly, grant them dignity as they dine
al fresco on gnats, crane flies, and tiny moths
that beat my lighted panes.
He shuns bait,
subsists on berries, fat grubs,
ground squirrels, mice--
skulks culverts, slips silently
through back yards.
Great Spirit whispers
he will inherit the earth--
meat not tasty
fur not sleek
not hunted to extinction.
he migrates north and east
populates forests where wolves
Trickster. Talking dog.
Running wild. Baying,
at the moon.
Survival of the adept.
Survival of the cunning.
Story for Time of Drought
west of Seattle . . .
silver spikes drilled
rendered it malleable.
Fields became mirrors;
and we braked for salmon
darting the road
Ann Howells' work appears in Crannog, Little Patuxent Review, and Spillway, among others. She has edited Illya's Honey for fifteen years, recently taking it digital: www.IllyasHoney.com. Her chapbooks: Black Crow in Flight (Main Street Rag, 2007) & the Rosebud Diaries (Willet, 2012). She has four Pushcart nominations.