as if the god of omens tossed a fiery quoit
into a stand of pines;
as if Shiva lost a bracelet dancing
among the stars;
as if a monster-slayer devoured an eye
of the demon who dwells in the sun;
as if any myth that tells of this
is more fantastic than the truth . . . .
The rapid fall of light
and confusion of a flying crow:
confirmation of dramatic change—
a perfect place to watch the eclipse
here at the bottom of a lost ravine.
I’m here to photograph the moon
swallowing the sun
in this other-worldly glow—
and my mind turns to annihilation.
No one knows where to look
if I don’t come back.
The world is getting cold and still
with the dark growing all around.
Science tells me facts
about the shadow-world forming here.
Yet, a chill and sudden dark—
the quiet in the woods around me—
I’ve marked a winding path through weeping pines,
giant redwoods, and owl clover― my latest
coiling track through twisting choices.
Especially as I scramble down the steep hillside―
slipping on rolling pebbles, slick as ball-bearings―
I know the way home demands a hard uphill climb.
I’ve come through nutmeg trees and sugar pines,
through cedars that thrive on this hillside
and skeletons of trees, bare as spinal cords.
I’ve circled back to nearly where I started
and wait on a little stone bridge.
Today, I’m trying to get lost;
pretending to be turned around,
I lay a trail for rescue dogs.
Today, I will be found.
Loki chases rainbows on the lawn,
snapping at mist, digging for spray―
a kindergartener among the graduates.
There is nothing like a sprinkler
to cheer a puppy who’d been left behind.
First Cowboy, then Gina trot from the parking lot
following a phantom of scent
lingering between the pines.
To Loki in her crate, it was a snub.
Cowboy and Gina already know
to trust the trail they find in the air;
to track that scent wherever it goes―
Loki will learn to trust her nose
in a game of dash-and-cover
when everyone’s back.
A young search-dog’s game
of hide-and-seek: basic
as the alphabet song.