He abides near
flowing water even when it’s
underground, knowing how to ghost
across the cornfield to the least whisper of runoff.

He knows the truth about more than the land,
this prophet of the real.
His paws search, grasp, choose,
and his gaze glitters from a mask

of dark. Dogs fear him,
cats make a show of not seeing where he passes,
and homeowners share midnights with the hush
of his passing.

He loses nothing,
and the wide acres are his.
He always returns, jaunty,
bold, just-this-minute gone.
And in his persistence
he learns the failings of each dwelling,
every shadow his temporary home,
the cat-door, the missing latch,
the guardian mastiff who sits back

and surrenders his meal to this
psychic of the possible
swift but in no hurry.

Michael Cadnum has published nearly forty books. His new collection of poems, The Promised Rain, is in private circulation. He lives in Albany, California.

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Published in the December 18, 2015 issue: View Contents
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