I press my ear against the earth
for the usual reasons: to fathom
ant scrabble, the sibilance of suckling
roots, the stoic decomposition
of underlying stones, groundwater abiding.
Also that I might discern what follows me,
or that might by me be followed in turn,
and maybe the weather in profound silence
communicating its intent
via the humlessness of its wireless net.
In fact it is the old dog who hears,
despite her failing ears, and who is,
somehow, far more attuned to the earth
than I will ever be: my sidekick,
my sin, my moral heart, my Jim.
Eventually I roll onto my back
and study through the treetops the immobility
of a cloud a hundred miles wide,
while the dog paws at the duff and unearths a bone,
upon which her gnaw sounds like someone walking.
By which I am made again to see,
that even that which I imagine she enacts,
and we stay in that place a long time,
waiting, until sleep comes down on me
and turns to blindfold what had been just a mask.